Swift's low steeple
bulked above smoky slates,
droppings steamed on the road
as Wordie's carts cut tracks
in gravelled tar. Grass
burned on the banks
in Kilmorey Park. Corks
eased from porter bottles
by blacked grates, a hundred ranges
burning Fisher's coal.
A pig hung bleeding
in Big Stephen's yard. At Sugar Island
the bridge swung for slow barges.

Autumns I remember,
before the sleep was cracked.


Notes on the poem:

  • Corks/eased from porter bottles - when I was young, porter bottles were still corked, not capped. People often stood bottles on the hearth; as the heat expanded the gases inside, the corks rose and finally popped out