Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Lost Heifer by Austin Clarke

When the black herds of the rain were grazing,
In the gap of the pure cold wind
And the watery hazes of the hazel
Brought her into my mind,
I thought of the last honey by the water
That no hive can find.

Brightness was drenching through the branches
When she wandered again,
Turning silver out of dark grasses
Where the skylark had lain,
And her voice coming softly over the meadow
Was the mist becoming rain.

Austin Clarke on the deleterious effect of the Irish Civil War on the nationalist ideal: a wonderful depth, a deep appreciation and understanding of symbolism and imagery, a true visualisation of Ireland in the interplay of its weather and landscape. The poem has a wealth and richness that few poets achieve today. The imagery succeeds wonderfully even without its meaning.

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