An Iubhair Cinn Tragh

forty years ago.
Cobbles still gleamed in gaslight,
thick barges slid silkily
to the sugar island
past swivelling bridges

of iron and wood;
sawdust from rumbling carts
dusted the roads, as
women scrubbed half-moons
on cracked concrete pavements
and the Clanrye ran red from Damolly.

Old men smoked clay pipes
on peeling window-sills,
Dublin trains shrieked
on the Craigmore viaduct.
And the worm
was writhing in the timbers.