It is quiet here,
Muiredach's Cross, Monasterboice but the sharp calls of rooks
pitch and fade like ricochets,
the frosted fields doze in a weak sun.

Rough stone oppresses
with grey indifference.
Cold scales are hoisted high
before clasped cowering souls
come to judgement in the gaze of Christ;

beyond, a fractured tower-top
clutches at heaven's basement,
refuge from the longboat warriors
for people strong in faith
but weak in arms. And I

possess no fields, no roots
of blood or creed tap here for me,
scion of settlers' servants
who crouched before an English god,
and kept their powder dry.

Now the sons of Donnall's folk
beg eastward for their manna,
singing songs of independence
as they snuffle at the Brussels trough,
and build their haciendas by the yellow whins;

while on this relic of Muiredach's pride,
weathered by a dark millennium
the crumbling staff of Moses
drills dry rock.


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