Sunday, August 26, 2012

Emigration - Empty Houses

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.

In Autumn the farmhouse

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

without stirring;

without remembering

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. 

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