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