The ancient ways are going
For the old woman knows words
In Gaelic, her grandchildren don’t,
Their Irish, modern, anglicised,
Hers bound to the earth
Carved by it as the rock underfoot.
The currachs like discarded shells
Of black backed beetles
Lie rotting in the sand.
The well-worn paths once woven
Into the landscape by feet
Are now mudded and gouged by tractor
Tyres no longer bordered
By smooth, soft margins,
Once home to wild garlic and primrose.
The Arctic Tern still finds a shelter
As does the Cuckoo and the Swallow
But the Corncrake left long ago.
Grey rock, grey sand, grey sky
Still the same, not yet scarred
But there’s a change in the wind
For the ancient ways are going,
Poem: Catherine Conneely. Image: JesseJames