A Fire in My Head

Gerald Dawe
'[ went out to the hazel wood Because a fire was in my head' W.B. Yeats
The bedstead rusts in oblivion and old parts for engines - tractors, refridgerators, cars are scattered about. They say this was the site
for a mythical battle and in the flat-roofed
hill that guides people here, the dead are buried upright like Chinese warriors. On the ordnance map
I've traced woodland, the same rivers and mills, even two Rectories and landed houses fallen
to generations of rooks and magpies who've taken over.
This is a nondescript landscape. The eye has to be shown lakes that vanish, a field of trampled grass across which a cock-pheasant sallies forth,
and to know how in the west come evening
the sky will blaze up like something from Blm's Prophetic Books. The trees brood in a silver light
and your voice is heard behind the paddocks
at the whitewashed sheds where the laburnum looks like a puppet caught up in its own strings.
The world becomes stranger. Are you, am I treading upon some loose and complicated path of dead and living, figures etched in the night?
I fetch the torch and its naked beam strafes the periphery wall to find you
offended by the light, startled as from a dream.
Page 105, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 28