St John’s Eve, Bunclody. A poem by Lucy Furlong

It is time for a Midsummer fire but not the weather for it. We are tucked up indoors at Mount Leinster View, as we have been since March 13th, the day after we landed, a late and rocky haul, a seasick cargo at Rosslare, only stopping on the road for petrol and to buy bread, eggs, pizza, and red wine. Emergency supplies for who knew what was happening – but it was happening fast now.

Yesterday the weather was dire, a fog dish cloth wrung over the hills across from us, the rain and wind howling and battering the house, a contrast from the swooping performance of the sunny six house martins, who brought us their travelling show last week, flitting from the gables of the garden shed to bask in the evening glow on the warm exterior wall by the living room window.

Now howl, now blast the wind, it runs like Tarkovsky’s knife through the ripening wheat field to the back of us, the director’s cut, the whole scene is elemental, but more determined than fragmented mirrors and drips, and ticks and tocks. We are in the now, the determined now of the present. The scene in the last few days is moving, rugged, piercing, demanding mostly that we pay attention, stay inside or deal with business at its behest.

Is it smoke from the chimneys of the grey house across the valley, or smudges again on my freshly cleaned window? We all peer through it throughout the day at one time or another. On dry days we walk down the lane (right or left take it in turns) and once a week, masked up, ready for the socially distanced supermarket trolley dash, the car gets a spin into town.

We think the days drift into one another, and they do but there is a curve of lived experience here, the hands began abruptly on that day after the ferry left us flapping, sick fish on the shore of our new home. That old Back Home I grew up with, it’s here in Wexford, in Selskar, Crossabeg and Ballymurn. Now I’m here too, waiting to find you.


Lucy Furlong is a writer, poet and walking artist whose work has been featured in The Guardian and on BBC Radio 4’s Women Who Walk programme. Her latest chapbook Sward was recently published by Sampson Low. A second edition of ~clew~ from Hesterglock Press is out later in 2020.

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