The House, Thoor Ballylee

Catherine Phil MacCarthy

     And what if my descendants lose the flower 
     Through natural declension of the soul...? 
          - WB Yeats, Meditations in Time of Civil War, IV 

What might you have foreseen? The way that rain 
teemed all autumn on the ragged elm 
so fields were flooded and the river rose 
on your precious acre of stony ground? 

How water crept round the ancient tower, 
and swept old trees in the eyes of the bridge, 
immersed the road, welled up the winding stair 
so that each intake of breath was a magnet 

for a river in spate and the torrent flowing in 
the chamber window met waters flowing out? 
That table of trestles and board where you wrote, 
a fire of turf in the open grey hearth: 

And now whatever flourish and decline 
These stones remain their monument and mine.

Page 106, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 108