Christmas Morning, Carrowdore, 1870 
by Gaynor Kane

 

On the horizon of Carney Brae, hats dawn;

Bowlers, Tam O'Shanters, Stovepipes,

sprouting from turf like seed husks on shoots.

 

Seeds, blown in, on a north-easterly from lowlands, over water,

to the Low Country. Sons of the sod, cotters and plewmen,

camouflaged by breeks and frock coats of sage and heather tweed.

 

Fog, patches a landscape eiderdown.

Everything iced, pure and clean.  Above, Orion

is fading; as the tide tugs the sun from slumber.

 

Christ Church is swallowed, only its steeple

rises above mist. They had watched it grow,

from the ground, stone by Scrabo stone.

 

Rifle ready to find a festive feast, they scan

the Squire's land in silence; breath billows

like smoke breathing dragons, angered at rack rents.           

 

An index finger touches nose, reaches into distance,

eye contact passes round like silent toppling dominoes.

Dogs point, noses and tails, like compass needles.

 

A goose, busy plucking moss, lost invisibility as the sun

thawed its tummock. Bowler hat fires the shot, his shoulder

takes pain first. Smoke burns the air; sulphur suffocates.

 

The goose lies up field, neck contorted, beak ajar, scarlet

feathers flying; falling. In a circle of congratulation,

the shoots pat each other Merry Christmas. 

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