Thursday, June 21, 2012

Country Childhood

There is no doubt that my Roscommon childhood has been idealised in this poem, but yet, I honestly believe that I had a very privileged upbringing. It was a good time in a safe place among great people. Behind our house countryside stretched off into the unknown; we had complete freedom to disappear for hours on end into that vastness.For any child with a lively imagination, that was  freedom of the universe.

From the front we saw Roscommon town across three fields. From front to back contained all the world I needed, and I was happy in it.

       The Country Child.

The country child

runs in and out of rain showers

like rooms;

sees the snake-patterns in trains,

the sun's sword-play in the hedges

and the confetti in falling elder blossoms;

knows the humming in the telegraph poles

as the hedgerow's voice

when tar bubbles are ripe for bursting;

watches bees emerge from the caverns

at the centres of buttercups,

feels no end to a daisy chain,

feels no end to an afternoon;

walks on ice though it creaks;

sees fish among ripples and names them;

is conversant with berries

and hides behind thorns;

slips down leaves, behind stones;

fills his hands with the stream

and his hair with the smell of hay;

recognizes the chalkiness

of the weathered bones of sheep,

the humour in a rusted fence,

the feel of the white beards that hang there.

The country child

sees a mountain range where blue clouds

are heaped above the horizon,

sees a garden of diamonds

through a hole scraped

in the frost patterns of his bedroom window

and sees yet another world

when tints of cerise and ochre

streak the evening sky.

He knows no end, at night
he sneaks glimpses of Heaven

through the moth-eaten carpet of the sky.

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