Emigration from Ireland in the middle of the 20th century led to a countryside that was dotted with farmsteads that had an eerie stillness to them. Warm Summer afternoons sagged with the silence. The lethargy that hung over the fields had more to do with the absence of children than draining heat. The older people remained in stifled attitudes in darkened kitchens. Sun beams seemed to purposely miss them.
Is this an accurate memory? I'm afraid I cannot say.
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
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.