Oct/Nov 2004 Poetry


by Billy O'Callaghan


By midmorning the wind has stirred to frenzy.
The dreary murmur of its screaming call
sifts through tiny myriad draughts
and echoes mournful intent in chimneys.

It is left to the women, at work inside or out
in the stoney fields, to turn their faces west,
and let their eyes trawl the moiling ocean bed
for a glimpse of the first returning boat.

Their lips keep the lowly cantor
of a plea to Jesus Christ, but instinct sings
to higher, older ears, Pagan things.
The women whisper cadenced prayer

while inside they keep a different beat.
Ancient habits never die;
they only change their faces.
Above, the slate sky boasts heavy threat.


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