The Feastday of Peace

© By Medbh McGuckian

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Deep in time’s turnings
and the overcrowded soil,
too familiar to be seen,
the long, long dead
steer with their warmed breath
my unislanded dreams.

View-thirsting at the wound-open
window, their weighted bending
down from a beclouded
day in the real past
runs a kind of springtime
through the air we will breathe.

Their lace-curtain Irish
anchoring the moon-lines
along the twisted sea-coast
chafes like a boat
in a sky-voyage the English
meaning so unlike language.

As summer’s funeral
in the deceitful wane of the war
is like a paper bride
in an unwomanly room
touching her mildly widowed
newlywed body –

so these puritan fields
that could not give the answer
when the whole key of childhood
spoke like an eye –
were death fore-experienced
though the leaves were all there.

© Medbh McGuckian, The Feastday of Peace, 1998, complete text, Shelmalier, 1998, The Gallery Press.

Medbh McGuckian’s poem refers to the deep historic roots of trouble.

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