I fall in the august grass. It feels, as it smells;
And the yielding softness beneath me and
The crows with their barbed- wire cackle around the belfry.
Caw at the stranger who
They seem toknow isn’t visiting the well
Of the Cistercian Abbey
Which is just a graveyard now
My mother’s people were all buried there
And she too wanted to be buried there beside them;
Beside her parents and her bothers and sisters.
She’d like that, she said but it wouldn’t be fair on us
To visit her grave; But it would be so nice .
My God the horrors I dreamed of that thought !
How could she think of that;
In summertime it might not be so bad
But to be alone there under the sodden clay
With the hectoring crows raucous in the belfry
Jesus no, it couldn’t be
And I prayed to God that I would pass away before her;
And deliver me from that tortured anguish.
But for now it was still summer, if only just .
In the distance a car changing gear over the bog road.
Across the fields of battle ;
where the Jacobites fell in sixteen ninety one
And now the pale grass yielding to insipid yellow .
Pushing up abundant mushrooms
Reminding me that this summer too will soon die.
And despite how I might try to hold back the days
Or my return to school, which I detested
the wretched pendulum of time;
with its gnawing exactitude.
Someone going to the well
Across the abbey field , with a blue-rimmed pail
The gate whines and clashes and the buckets
Sway and slops of water spill on the dry clay
And my joy tells me again that at least yet itsstill Summer
Above the village the where I caught my first fish
Where I watched the bob of cork , plop
Once, twitch, then plunging down;
And the strike- and the frenzied perch swimming
In crooked dashes, darting madly
In his final throes in the blackness of the pool
And Oh ! what atreasure I’d landedthere !
Now I seeThat dark deepness there ;
Deeper than my dreams of that or any other time
A depth whose profundity I can only now touch in haunted sleep.
The village hairdresser was a merry lady
who dressed up and went to dances
With much local disaproval
in Ballinasloe on Sunday nights ;
And dyed the hair of every woman blue ,
In her revenge on Monday morning.
The monsieur, once a week
Strutted the length of the village
Just to make sure it was still there,
A lofty man who rarely spoke idly ;
Or looked less sombre than a cowl.
They said he was a scholar alone and,
Lost among these farming folk
He carried his brieverylike his tombstone
Stern against his chest.
He disapproved of a circus coming to town
And also of Sunday night dancing
And if I could disapprove of anything.
And what bothered me the most
Was why my mother wanted to be buried there ,
Or my father, and I said a prayer to god
Take me somewhere, in my sleep before they go`
Lying in that grave would be so cold in winter
I knew; my sister was borne on x,maseve ‘47
And it had snowed all over the midlands
And only that my uncle had petrol which was rationed-
Well my mother mightn’t have made it.
But it would be so cold in another winter
So cold; Even the crows might take flight
And there would be no one there
Only but the gravediggers
Looking for the keys of the Abbey.
No merry hairdresser; no dance in Ballinasloe
And no more thoughts of circuses.
No perch to catch in the reedy pool ;
And I could no more stop any of this than I could the
heedless spilling of my last days of summer,
Slopping like the careless water splashing from
The blue rimmed pails
A cloud of darkest chill came down upon me
In the loamy bed and l felt
The starkest lonlines of that day
so soon turn a leaden death .
And I realised that circuses were for children
And for fools and : what would be would be
However I thought or how ever hard I prayed