John McCullagh October 23, 2006
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Today I walked the road

I skipped along when I was young

And fought to quell the rising melancholy in my heart:

Where once I gathered primroses and violets,

Kept secret the thrush’s nest I found within the hawthorn hedge

Nibbled on wild strawberries and sloes

And smelt the fragrant garlic and wild onion after rain

– Nothing grew.

 

The heavy flowing river where I fished for sprats,

And caught an eel

Is dehydrated now

Choked with mangled metal scrap.

 

The low marshy meadow

Where I squelched barefooted chasing butterflies,

Plucked tall mayflowers through rustling green rushes

Watching ripples fanning out from swimming waterhens

Weaving here and there, past frog-spawn and water lily;

Where long-necked herons stalked back and forth

Through stems of delicate bog cotton

To crickets’ chirrup and corncrakes’ grate

While the sun dripped, endlessy ..

 

Today this meadowland of flora and fauna

Lies Immovable, locked deep in concrete dungeons.

 

The orchard trees I scrambled up, are there no more

Nor is the pale-skin birch,

And alder tree with milk of human kindness in its sap

The scarlet-berried rowan bush, and damson hedge

Have fallen victim of ‘man’s advance’:

Gone too, the one that -as a child – disturbed me most

Yet grieves me now

The swishing, to and fro

Of the sally rod.

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