Monday, December 12, 2016 - 5:21 pm


I have been writing about this townland
For fifty years, watching on their hummock
Autumn lady’s tresses come and go and,
After a decade underground, return
In hundreds. I have counted the whoopers
And the jackdaws over Morrison’s barn.
Too close on the duach to tractor tracks
The ringed plover’s nest has kept me awake,
And the otter that drowned in an eel-trap.
Salvaging snail shells and magpie feathers
For fear of leaving particulars out,
I make little space for philosophizing.
I walk ever more slowly to gate and stile.
Poetry is shrinking almost to its bones.

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Michael Longley

has written more than 20 books of poetry, including Collected Poems, Gorse Fires, and his most recent collection, The Stairwell. He was the professor of poetry for Ireland from 2007 to 2010 and is the winner of the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Hawthornden Prize, and the Griffen Prize. In 2015 he was honored with the Freedom of the City of Belfast.

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