Aidan Semmens

For Barry MacSweeney

I met a traveller of the mythy north
who said to be penetrates especially the manner the word
was built into towers of the hearts of stone
people can predominate landscape or the earth
till the little ones you damn of time you carry all
in order to ruin and newly within the earth
from which all sprang; we drink two and our meaning
how with password, probably rewrite, rightly
to reason were encoded in the very limits of languages
to explain the ways in our spirits and invoke
the histories of a different age must beg
our magic; the story of quern, load-bearing,
to fall with quoin of the church which is forgotten
mulched under again inexorable churn

in effort of totem and summary name of god
or capital people raise their upward stones;
we lift our voices, sing our songs, we say
our tales to justify our to be, return to myths
to instil the primacy of race
beyond the race, legislator beyond the serf, to quell
resistance and abomination, painting
our histories in the weave of the wall;
rocks of the land, vigilance above the sea
of whence we came to where we came to rest;
the return cultic and the Celtic cross
divided by the surf that breaks in main,
the slime, the mud, the reeds, the common tern,
the peep of oystercatchers on the river