This poem was inspired by nights in Roundwood, Wicklow; watchng the crows and rooks perform their nightly ritual, the "black breasted flight" of dusk.
When searching for a metaphor to represent that emotional moment, the laying to rest, the cycle that drives us forward, night to dawn, this image, burnt into my mind over incalcuable summer evenings took over.
As it did, it carried the poem into some areas of its own
The gravel paths of the interlopers/ darkened by the cloud of dark wings/ stirred by the shadow of the future /The reminder that death precedes life/
Currently available in Where The Hazel Falls
Anthology of Modern Irish Verse, Electric Publications
Across the last plains
under leaden skies,
the ground peat-brown beneath;
Turf cutters pausing to point
at the summers last black-breasted flight,
across the dark eddies and whirlpools,
the silver line of the river beneath;
Over the wild heathers of the stone hills
from the Cairns of the west
to the graves of the silent east.
A black sunset, the death of a new day remarked.
Shrill and defiant in calling
the passage of the long evening mourned.
The gravel paths of the interlopers,
darkened by the cloud of dark wings,
stirred by the shadow of the future.
The reminder that death precedes life,
The smoke of the fires rising slowly;
the wheel of the wing on the turn.
The veil drawing over the midlands,
the song of the night slowly silenced,
the call of the dusk borne away.
Geraldine Moorkens Byrne
Tuesday 6 March 2007