The Ulster Way
This is not about burns or hedges.
There will be no gorse. You will not
notice the ceaseless photosynthesis
or the dead tree’s thousand fingers,
the trunk’s inhumanity writhing with texture,
as you will not be passing into farmland.
Nor will you be set upon by cattle,
ingleberried, haunching and haunting
with their eyes, their shocking opals,
graving you, hoovering and scooping you,
full of a whatness that sieves you through
the abattoir hillscape, the runnel’s slabber
through darkgrass, sweating for the night
that will purple to a love-bitten bruise.
All this is in your head. If you walk,
don’t walk away, in silence, under the stars’
ice-fires of violence, to the water’s darkened strand.
For this is not about horizons, or their curving
limitations. This is not about the rhythm
of a songline. There are other paths to follow.
Everything is about you. Now listen.
“The Ulster Way” appears in the collection Somebody Somewhere, published by the Gallery Press (2004).