in the lough off Greencastle.
The seals came unexpectedly,
Kilkeel Harbour, Co. Down slippery, aqua-dynamic,
liquid-eyed, bobbing heftily
through warm water, visitors

from cold layers snorting
a whiskered presence. Rocked
in monocoque fibreglass,
wary of ramming potential
in streamlined skulls, lifted
the paddle, shrinking

from blubbered momentum, curdled
to muscular stasis.
Watched as they flipped under,
wondered the quick sense of loss.
Their wakes oiled behind them
pumping away to Greenore.


Notes on the poem:
Greencastle (line 2) - tiny village with Norman castle on North Ireland (Co. Down) shore of Carlingford Lough
Greenore (line 18) - tiny port on South Ireland shore (Co. Louth) of Carlingford Lough
The music is 'The Leaving of Liverpool', as popularised by the Clancy Brothers and
Tommy Makem
Like the seagulls in 'Flagstaff', the seals 'cross the border unaware'. I'm sure that this notion was influenced by Isaac Rosenberg's mention of the rat in 'Break of Day in the Trenches'

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