[ɪ] [ai] [æ] [ei] [ʌ/ʊ] [e/eə:] [i:] [ɒ] [əʊ] [ɑː] [uː] [ɜː] [au]
I was parked on a high road, listening
to peewits and wind blowing round the car
when something came to life in the driving mirror,
in an overcoat
and boots, bareheaded, big, determined
in his sure haste along the crown of the road
that I felt
The car door slammed. I was suddenly out
face to face with an aggravated man
gun butts to come cracking on the door,
yeomen on the rampage, and his neighbour
'Round about here you overtook the women,'
I said, as the thing came clear. 'Your Lough Derg Pilgrim
as if I am being followed, or following.
I'm on my road there now to do the station.'
His head jerked sharply side to side and up
like a diver surfacing,
anyhow, he took cognizance again
of where he was: the road, the mountain top,
by a shower
worked on his anger visibly until:
'It is a road you travel on your own.
I who learned to read in the reek of flax
and saw their looped slime gleaming from the sacks -
made me into the old fork-tongued turncoat
who mucked the byre of their politics.
If times were hard, I could be hard too.
And maybe there's a lesson there for you,
whoever you are, wherever you come out of,
there's something natural
in your smile
there's something in it strikes me as defensive.'
for the angry
I said. 'I come from County Derry,
born in earshot of an Hibernian hall
a band of Ribbonmen
By then the brotherhood was a frail procession
staggering home drunk on Patrick's Day
in collarettes and sashes fringed with green.
and not that harp of unforgiving iron
the Fenians strung. A lot of what you wrote
heard and did:
Lough Derg station,
flax-pullings, dances, summer crossroads chat
local voice of education.
All that. And always, Orange drums.
And neighbours on the roads at night with guns.'
'I know, I know, I know, I know,' he said,
you have to try
of what comes.
Remember everything and keep your head.'
in the hedge,'
dark-clumped grass where cows or horses dunged,
the cluck when pith-lined chestnut shells split open
in your hand, the melt of shells corrupting,
old jampots in a drain clogged up with mud -'
But now Carleton was interrupting:
or maggots sown in wounds -
another life that cleans our element.
of the earth,
and all that
has gone through us is what will be our trace.'
He turned on his heel when he was saying this
and headed up the road at the same hard pace.