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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

At Sally Gap

Sally Gap has long been a sacred place to me. So this by way of a salute to it.

The placeless place
find it incline
to the back roads’

slant invitation
a colour code
rainbow away

on the map
primary secondary
third class

other the signs
in neither kilo-
metres nor miles

the Irish spelling
a qualm of variants
snagged on

a barbed-wire fence
through which

lours a sheep’s
water face

this long-ago
Sunday after-
mass drive

the gearbox

the windscreen
in tears and who

for the Redcoats
to chase laying
the military road

as they go
and their heads
on their barracks’

stone pillows
the misspelt
patriot the lost

German soldiers
out of memory

here where God
becomes Featherbed

the monstrous
pylons striding
ahead and sunk

in the infant
breaking waters

tramper and twitcher

the heather spikes
on the sheep trails
and sparing

a glance as we pass
the corrie’s
inverted dunce-

cap plumbing
the lacustrine

and if there were
houses there are
no houses

the rundown
national school
and struggling pub

cease to be
of concern where
the joyriders

burn out their cars
and walk home
and the radio mast

tears open
the sky on a sinkhole

upwards and out
of everywhere
from the overrun

seaboard the hereby
declared notional
city beyond

the helplessly
fertile midlands
and upstart

bustle of derelict
we rise

without trace
the any-day-now
impassable roads

all too open
to your forecast
of issueless

that does not come
but have we not

been here before
pulling over
might I not

for once delight
in the sheep droppings

the beer cans
and facing four ways
choose all or none

knowing well
dusk will find us
at sea-

level the mountains
asleep again

behind the last
estate’s teatime
lights all that

cosy apocalypse
stood down

and hardly
not this time
the end of the world

1 comment:

Mark Granier said...

Bravo. Interesting that you mention the German soldiers' cemetery which a friend introduced me to not so long ago. There's a link to a picture of it (or of the gate anyway) on the following entry in my photo-journal (Skyroad), which also has a couple of photos of The Sally Gap along with a little poem I wrote about driving through that place: