YR EIFL



Up we went past the small village
and up and up towards
the language school beside the sea,
where we took the right fork, rising again
by the roughest road that grew rougher
until at last we stopped by the quarry
and began to walk, straight now,
up through the heather
to the tallest of the three mountains
and there looked back across the sea
and saw, as clear as seventy miles could let us,
the coast of Ireland and the Wicklow Hills
dark against the light of the sky,
against the light of the ocean.
And I strained through the binoculars
to catch perhaps the peak
of the Sugarloaf Mountain, and didn't,
but remembered our friends in Bray,
the hostel, merry as a pub,
and that sweet morning just at dawn
when we had stood and listened
to no sounds of people,
only the birds and the sheep,
and then all the creatures
of the woods and the farm
in one good morning voice.

Early piece, published in 'One Small Stride'

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