Round towers

For Paul Brookes’ April poetry challenge, a poem inspired by Gaynor Kane’s photo of the round tower on Devenish County Fermanagh.

Round towers

Do they remember,
the lochs and glens,
the thud of heavy feet?

Are the stony strands still scored
by the keels of dragon ships,
rushed slender as sword blades
out of the pull of the waves?

Sometimes, if you press your ear
to the grey stone, you can hear
the fear of placid skies and seas,
the look-out shout,
The wolves, the wolves!

Run a finger over rough lichen,
find the scorch marks, listen
to the song of the flames,
the cries of the cattle.

They prayed for storms
when the Northmen were on the sea,
when fine weather brought death,

and in all the broad, rolling green of the world,
the only safety was in a stone needle
pointing at the indifferent sky.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

18 thoughts on “Round towers”

  1. I knew this one was yours. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really love the third stanza.
    The photo definitely captures the feel of this place–it seems everyone who wrote poems to it felt the same way.

    1. Thank you! (I’m pleased you recognised the style) ๐Ÿ™‚
      The round towers are very evocative of a particular period and we can all imagine what Viking raids must have been like.

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