i.m. Thomas Costello
Fifty summers gone,
and you walk to a field
in Ireland and claim the land
as your own, the farmhouse rubble
and thatch, now, as you return
to greener days of childhood play...
languid boy swinging
under the apple tree,
quick to jump and chase birds
and rabbits on days
only the retch and clank of a gun
reminds you of darkness, the butt-end
of 'an Uncle's' grief; that's you −
hopping to school like a sparrow,
Gaelic boy speaking good Gaelic,
you again, aged five and two,
and the loss of your Ma & Da
respectively, 13, at the grave of Auntie Mary
(the woman you called Mother Mary),
boarding weeks later a boat -
Dublin - Liverpool - Halifax.
Twenty years on
and I the pilgrim;
(via Belfast and Sligo) I head to Galway.
I do not reach the farm.
I walk and walk, and watch
as your Milltown-Clashaganny-Tuam
converges to a vanishing point,
my dreamed of green land
you called home as far-fetched
as roots of a tree, our ancient name
At the B&B in Galway Town
our surname is spoken
with reverence by a silver-haired host
'We share the same name,
a sense of someone else's home
as I took the boat for Inis Mor,
discovering what ever Irishman knows,
every Irishman is alone,
Irishmen and Ireland alone,
before and after the splitting of the stone.
I am a writer, editor and gardener living in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire. I have a degree and masters in Literature and Philosophy undertaken while living in London. I obtained a PGCE in English and History and taught for two years in a secondary school in England (age range: 11-18). My writing credits can be viewed here. I have had two poetry books published and am co-translator of Alain-Fournier:Poems (Carcanet, 2016). I am an editor and associate publisher at The High Window Press.