Ancient Ways

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,

Blowing away.

The ancient ways are going

Poem: Catherine Conneely. Image: JesseJames

 

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