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.

“Age” from Angel Hill by Michael Longley. Copyright © 2017 by Michael Longley. Published by Wake Forest University Press. Used with permission of the poet.

Listen to Michael Longley’s On Being interview, “The Vitality of Ordinary Things.”