Harry Clifton

Deep Ulster - Poem by Harry Clifton

It was there, the elemental center,
All the time. Eternally present, repeating itself
Like seasons, where the times and dates
For swallows and household fires are written down,

The grouse are counted, the quotas of stocked rainbows.
All that love of order, for its own sake.
Only the hill-farms, and the high sheep country
Above politics—the enormous relief

Up there, as the dialect names of skies
Return, along with their clouds, and the old knowledge
Opens the mind again. To dream, to just potter
In the yard, to fiddle with local stations

In the kitchen, where news that is no news
Finally, at last, fills up the years
With pure existence. Lit from beneath
The fields are evenings long, the tree by the house

Where Vladimir and Estragon kept vigil
With the stillness of commando and insurgent
Frightens no one. Slow through the air
A heron, shouldering aside the weight of the world,

Is making for its colonies, coevals
In a state plantation . . .
Nowhere but here
In the high right hand of Ireland, do the weather fronts
Give way so slowly, to such ambivalent light.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

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