Carrowmore

Larry Stapleton

passage tombs were being erected there ... several
centuries before the large Boyne Valley tombs

       – Bergh and Hensey, 2013

Only now do we know this land
on either side of a quiet lane
on the outskirts of our town
was where a country began,
a people first made a mark,
no longer hunter-gatherers
but farmers – and builders
of this wide necropolis,

of the tombs we can see
on so many distant hills,
the great cairn of Knocknarea –
high now on the skyline
as we follow the grassy trail
leading to Listoghil, the cairn
at the heart of Carrowmore.

All around us, boulder circles
and dolmens, passage tombs
of a people who wore rings
made of sperm whale teeth
or walrus ivory, and fastened
their garments with pins
of bone or red deer antler –
mushroom-like pinheads
on fragments found
in the burial chambers;

and perhaps like that, still,
if we listen, from Listoghil,
or somewhere in the ring of hills,
we may one day pick up an echo,
come to hear a silence sing.

Page 47, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 128
Issue 128

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 128:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Poetry Ireland Review 128, edited by Eavan Boland, is full of strong poems and strong opinions. The issue features a total of 61 poets, including new work from Moya Cannon, Ciaran Carson, Dairena Ní Chinnéide, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Andrew Rahal, Rachael Hegarty, Eoin Rogers, Liz Quirke, and Featured Poet Caitlin Newby. There's an article on Seamus Heaney, excerpted from Minor Monuments, Ian Maleney's masterly book of essays; and, in the first in a series of dips into the PIR archives, Paula Meehan's still-timely essay on her time as Writing Fellow in Residence at TCD is reprinted from PIR  36  (1992).

Books reviewed include new work from Jessica Traynor, Michael Coady, John Liddy, Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Anne Tannam, Gail McConnell, 
Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Michael Hofmann, and Harry Clifton, along with 17 other titles. Ann Quinn provides the eloquent cover and artwork for Poetry Ireland Review 128, now available to order online as a single issue or on subscription.