The Old Bog Road
Before the by-pass
This had been the by-pass.
Fields of sick conifers. Tender verges.
Black birds hacking at a multitude
Of stillborn kills.
Gamely we turned from
The carriageway and this fast century,
Satisfied that, if this wasn’t our direction,
It was at least a road we chose
It was at least a shortcut,
Play-bickered at, perhaps,
But well away from all those endless,
Crowded lanes on which we
Closed so many distances that day.
And yet I thought that light and time
Were altogether different there—
Starlight over gorse
Raked across an evening palette,
The slow heave of night above mid-Clare.
Eternal sky. Then moonrise
Platinum and cold
And in the crude stab of the headlamp
Fox eyes shimmering in ridicule.
I guess we were ridiculous to hope.
Val Nolan recently completed doctoral research in the Department of English at NUI Galway, where he continues to teach contemporary literature and creative writing. He has published poetry in the Ravenglass Poetry Anthology, and in journals including The Stinging Fly, Southword, Crannóg, Revival, Poetry Scotland, and New York’s Mobius Magazine.