Remembering Carrigskeewaun

A wintry night, the hearth inhales
And the chimney becomes a windpipe
Fluffy with soot and thistledown,
A voice-box recalling animals:
The leveret come of age, snipe
At an angle, then the porpoises’
Demonstration of meaningless smiles.
Home is a hollow between the waves,
A clump of nettles, feathery winds,
And memory no longer than a day
When the animals come back to me
From the townland of Carrigskeewaun,
From a page lit by the Milky Way.

This poem is excerpted with permission from Collected Poems by Michael Longley. Copyright © 2007 by Michael Longley. Published by Wake Forest University Press. Used with permission of the poet.

This poem was originally read in the On Being episode “The Vitality of Ordinary Things.”