An upshot of emigration is the aging of the population, particularly in rural parts. Old farmhouses, their young families gone, used to be a much more prevalent feature of the Irish countryside in the sixties and seventies; the new wave of departures may, sadly, turn the clock back. In silencing dead summer heat, the emptiness of these houses is accentuated.
A Stranger In The Townland.
with the sun-folded field beneath its chin,
traps the daylight in its spectacles,
then flashes it away.
A swing hangs among the orchard's arthritic trees
a frantic liveliness now reduced
to the occasional commotion of a falling fruit.
Once songs of apples filled the farmhouse;
but the children became photographs,
the dust settled on their frames
and soon Autumns were flying uncontrollably by.
Today, between its curiosities, a bluebottle drones.
Now that the conversation with the hillside
is ended, the farmhouse
with the sycamore stole
has become an eccentric;
a stranger in the townland.