Leanne O’Sullivan - TOWNLAND

A hankering in the skull, uttered and worked,
the stagger of heather beds cleaved in the throat;
Gorth and Ahabrock, and in the old stone walls
the swallows going like windborne rumours.
An ordinary night my father walking there
thought he’d heard the ghost of Norah Seer,
the border-streams swelling to the sound
of her steel crutch tapping out the hours.

Old homes and a half remembered word of mouth;
we’d prowl the lanes ourselves calling her out,
the underground all moan and winnow
with disappearing streams and passages
that swept the yellowing furze.  Unlistened for,
the roofless village a thousand times passed,
and beyond, the waning lift and turn of a gate
the fall of banked moss, and all of us listening.