dedalus Posted September 1, 2009 Share Posted September 1, 2009 (edited) Warmth travelled as much from the looks as it did from the glow of the low-banked fire that a good country house requires in August when you chance to live in the West of Ireland. My cousins were as pleased with me as I with them as we smiled and sipped strong amber whiskey, but then the stories and jokes of the day gave way to more sombre thoughts, the bringing back of the dead, To the memory of not-forgotten figures who lay no more than a mile away along the outer lane under rustling grasses, an immemorial counterpane to the cold unmoving clay, heavy, dark and final. That can happen to you in Ireland, even without the whiskey; even without companiable cousins. The dead come back, but they won't say anything. I arose, smiling, said that I needed a breath of air, That I'd take the two dogs for a gallop, be back in no time. Polite protests and smiles, but no real sense of care as I went down to the hallway, found a pair of heavy boots and reached for the stick that stood by the door. Yerrup! says I to the dogs, tails frantic with excitement, getting a shot of freedom at this time of the night! G'wan the pair of you! And they shot off down the road. I stepped out the door and the cold hit me like bullets, Sudden as the real things, like those that hit great-uncle Jim over there beyond in Poor Little Belgium, the useless mud they were fighting and dying for; when they reckoned they might, in the end, have been fighting for Dear Old Ireland instead. No matter, there they were, their lives drained out and dead, including the ones who came home to cold suspicious welcomes ninety years ago. Can we ever make it up to them? I don't think so. Jim's part of a foreign field that is forever fucking England. A sheen of rain on the road; night black as the hairs on a witches whatsit, but I can hear the wind howling, keening, through bushes on either side, and black indeed are the tangsweet berries for I confess I cannot see them, even in the ferocious frozen glory of bright far distant stars. Before me is the rustling beckoning graveyard … the dead that gave me life. Behind is a warm and well-lit house and my laughing, living cousins. I whistle and I call to the disappointed dogs: Wheeesh!! C'mon, c'mon! C'mere to me, boys! Heel and heel! Come on, there, lads, we're heading home. Edited September 1, 2009 by dedalus Quote Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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