Once Alien Here

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Once alien here my fathers built their house, claimed, drained, and gave the land the shapes of use, and for their urgent labour grudged no more than shuffled pennies from the hoarded store of well … Read More

Ulster Names

I take my stand by the Ulster Names, each clean hard name like a weathered stone; Tyrella, Rostrevor, are flickering flames: the names I mean are the Moy, Malone, Strabane, Slieve Gullion and Portglenone. Even … Read More

Post Script, 1984

Those verses surfaced thirty years ago when the time seemed edging to a better time, most public voices tamed, those loud untamed as seasonal as tawdry pantomime, and over my companionable land placenames still lilted … Read More

Grey & White, 1940

Grey sea, grey sky two things are bright; the gull-white foam, the gull, foam-white.

Substance & Shadow, 1976

There is a bareness in the images I temper time with in my mind’s defence; They hold their own, their stubborn secrecies; A gannet’s plunge, a heron by a pond, a last rook homing as … Read More

Company, 1952

Leaving our hearth at midnight for his own up the steep winding brae, our neighbour paused beyond the gate to weight the chance of rain; An old man this, our neighbour, when we come, with … Read More

From the Chinese of Wang Li Shi, 1938

FROM THE CHINESE OF WANG LI SHI 1938 The Mourne Mountains like a team of bears tumbling into the sea, the embroidered fields like a monks patched cloak spreading their skirts to every door, the … Read More

An Ulster Landowner’s Song, 1969

I’m Major This or Captain That, MC and DSO. This Orange Lily in my hat I sometimes wear for show, so long as I can walk my dogs around the old estate, and keep the … Read More

An Ulsterman in England remembers, 1969

Here at a distance, rocked by hopes and fears with each convulsion of that fevered state, the chafing thoughts attract, in sudden spate, neglected shadows from my boyhood years: the Crossley tenders caged and roofed … Read More

Halloweve: A Glensman Speaks, 1952

As we came up the brae last night at twelve after a ceilidhe down at Ballybrack, a wild coarse night of storm with scuds of rain and a gale roaring over Tieveragh, I said in … Read More