Francis Duggan

Memories Of A Visit To Cladoch Valley - Poem by Francis Duggan

The only time I've been to Cladoch Valley
The memory lingered with me down the years
I marvelled at the wild and rugged beauty
And voice of bleating sheep rang in my ears.

I drove down the narrow road along the valley
Houses were scarce can only recall three
And though those houses looked like they were lived in
Another human soul i did not see.

I stopped my car the airborne larks were singing
In the clear sky above the bracken hill
And gorse looked good in Summer flowers of yellow
And the day was warm without a touch of chill.

Later that evening in Rathmore i remember
In Cahill's pub i met a man from Shrone
I asked him what he knew of Cladoch Valley
That place of sheep by hill of gorse and stone.

He said he'd often been to Cladoch valley
Less than five miles from where I live he said
You may think Shrone is quiet 'he supped his porter'
But compared to Shrone poor Cladoch seems quite dead.

I mentioned whilst there i had not seen People
Which seemed to come to him as no surprise
He said the farmers might be out the mountains
To see them some days you would need good eyes.

A strip of dried paint on each sheep's back had you noticed?
A splash of paint the mountain farmer's brand
They often climb those hills to check their sheep out
Where they might be you now might understand.

These mountain farmers sheep are their main asset
For their livelihoods they must depend on sheep
The Government give them grants to boost their incomes
As market prices for their produce cheap.

He went on Shrone to some may seem quite lonely
But Cladoch Valley in many ways more so
In hardest Winter farmers isolated
When mountain road is covered deep in snow.

I said today in Cladoch i see beauty
A rugged beauty beautiful to view
But his parting words you come back in the Winter
And you will see what I've been telling you.

But i did not return in the Winter
As December found me half a World away
Though memories come to me fifteen years later
Of Cladoch on a balmy July day.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, January 8, 2008

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