Gentle earth rolling
secret places live on beyond senses hidden by roads that plunge and turn
human paths dancing ancient steps
ivy inquisitive and rampant that flanks,
hedging arching trees that reach and
holding hands with its partner
they watch over farmers and pilgrims
grey skies burst epic, clouds rolling away to wage yesterday’s battles
rain suddenly falling like the roads do fall it twists and shapes itself careening into the slopes and gullies capricious it changes
the future can only ever be pondered
mother greens, lush and nourished
with stones of men profound ruins sunk deep and climbing still caked across the earth and yearning for the sky
After Dublin the land is a sneak the way it changes on you so that it is no longer flat, shallow ups and downs and the earth closes in,
now the road is narrow and it and the looming trees are the only visible things
so drive and drive, where we are going we’re going I said
on and on, roads and fields that fed your people and starved them in turn.
A football ground is barren and defiant with raised bunkers of scratching concrete and ticket booths like fascist border crossings –
yet buttercups hold court on a pitch surrounded by expectant crowds of heaped gravel.
On and on. Are those the walls? No roof now. Men’s follies are sinking, inexorably tangled, married to the green that embraces them close, a morning mother. On and on. Maybe down here. Did they wander this lane? A muddy track, grass grows long between wary tracks. Stones lie hidden. The land is a tinker. You are a stranger and your chariot is gouged by a wild place, this tangled bosk, fragrant and sopping.
A river, a lifeblood snug to an Abbey that endures.
A castle first slaughtered and broke by the Irish and reborn by them in turn.
A swan, white glow in twilight’s distance, a beacon betwixt trillion leafed flutterings that follow the river to Creevaghmore’s turn.
A narrow bridge the village straddles with its wire framed bowls of flowers in red and blue and yellow that hang throughout, they funnel sinners to mass and guiness alike.
A ballad plays on and over, a weird echo of the chants of monks whose skeletons are not even powder in the earth.
James Milesi 2013
James Milesi comes from a line of Carmody, Costello, Burke and Cahill on his mother’s side.
While living in Oxford in 2013, he travelled with his fiancé to Clare and Roscommon to visit his Irish roots.