Where Three Rivers Meet

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    Where the Three Rivers Meet
    Aine MacAodha
    Argotist Ebooks
    Cover image by Aine MacAodha
    Copyright © Aine MacAodha 2014
    All rights reserved Argotist books
    Aine MacAodha is a poet whose words bring forth her inner light and fire. She is ‘The Fire of the
    Gaels,’ for Aine herself is an £pic Hero, an “every woman” who has lived through tumultuous times,
    troubles, and highs. Hers is the deepening of the human experience, placed in poetic form. Aine is
    a voice of both history and present. Her voice and memories serve as needed reminders of a time in
    1reland that should not be forgotten, whilst also presenting a link to the history of 1reland and
    the future. As a poet, she reveals the trinity of the ‘Goddesses of the deep’, the Mother, and the
    Friend in all of her poems. 1t has been my great pleasure to work with her both as an
    editor/publisher, and as a friend.
    (Karen Bowles, Luciole Press)
    Where the Three Rivers Meet
    The Sperrin Mountains
    Dander over the peat clad slopes find the ancient past alive
    in the bones of the Sperrins.
    Pigeon top; a silent view.
    Absorb the secrets of the mass rock were faceless priests prayed in whispers.
    Beagmore stone circles retell the hardships of bronze age man
    strong, creative, protective of family clan.
    The Ogam stone of Greencastle uniquely signed by the early communicators
    of this green landscape.
    Take a dander over the Sperrins. Sense the myths hidden in bedrock hear the echoes of the past
    Barnes Gap, Sperrins Region
    Carved centuries ago
    by the powerful elements of wind and ice slicing through the countryside.
    Glazed now by a carpet of moss and haunted by the hills of Mullaghbane and Mullaghbolig seem
    untouched by modern man; apart from the odd sheep
    that wandered under the fence leaving clots of wool waving frantically.
    Tense atmosphere only solidifies the cheek of my intrusion.
    Sun plays hide n’ seek behind rocks and crevices cooling schists once again.
    Aghascrebah Ogham Stone, 1reland
    1 feel its supernatural pull working its way up from the earth and out to the universe.
    Laid by pre-historic man and un-earthed by modern farmer searching for rich soil.
    Silver almost as the November sky.
    Aiming towards the heavens
    like a beacon over the boundaries.
    Waiting perhaps in this empty field surrounded by hedges and bracken; for a gathering of a kind to
    the deep rooted origins of its sweat bearing creators. Their words forever notched in stone.
    1nto this November air a supernatural force
    draws me to it like a magnet.
    Curtain Up
    The morning climbs above the house. 1 admire the beauty of the lifting mist.
    The bleached horizons above the rooftops; steam floating of the dewy tiles
    like smoke signals.
    Winding roads too small for map marking; cut paths through the county.
    The crows and blackbirds line up on the fence
    making the most of the drying puddles and refilled nut bags; meant for wrens and robins!
    The air blanched of spring with the odd housefly busying about. Much too early 1 think.
    ‘As long as the morning light combs across your face,
    as long as the curtains open anew; there draws the breath of theatre’.
    Waiting at the Station
    The October frost drapes the buildings in a cape of Christmas lights.
    Sparse maples asleep. Yesterday’s newspapers gather in circles at the corner,
    catching every now and then on the steel bench
    glazed in the breeze.
    A road sweeper wrapped in thought nods to himself.
    Morning noises appear. Milk floats, post vans, buses stopping and starting.
    The odd greeting from one driver to the other tired of the drill.
    1 think of your transformation from country girl to
    college girl.
    How letting go was worth it,
    seeing how beautiful you’ve grown.
    Fire of the Gaels
    She is every woman
    who struggles for survival in a world of prisons
    of one form or another. Her stories, etched on the landscapes of the universe.
    She is the mouth of the Blackwater,
    the secrets of the Alder, the writing on the caves and the shedder of light.
    She is the blueprints of the past,
    the wishes of the unborn, the spirit of the crops and the heat of the sun bursting on buds.
    She’s the midges on the lough, the guardian of the wells,
    the bones of the earth and the ties that bind by spirit and blood.
    She’s the songs sung so often renewed on the lips of the young. Her tongue fiery can cut like an
    axe or sooth like a lullaby.
    She is goddess of the people, the fire on the hills.
    She’s the shadow on the stones glinting on river beds.
    The breath of a new morning, and a beacon in the night.
    She is every woman. She is Aine,
    fire of the gaels.
    Beurla *
    1n the confines of my mind
    1 converse in my native tongue; recall early school lessons,
    is mise, slan agat go foil, gradh.
    They fade like my childhood, warmed on knees by open fires. Songs of Wexford and Vinegar Hill fused
    with Tyrone’s bardic thrill.
    Secondary school brought the troubles, beurla, the fading of the 1rish tongue lost in the distance
    of war and forbidden to utter out of the home.
    My words travel through me like the oak saturated in bogs
    awaiting the re-newel of better times. Acknowledged, embraced and refined.
    * Beurla is 1rish for the £nglish language.
    Bundoran, County Donegal
    Embracing the salt curtain of the green Atlantic sway to and fro towards me;
    waves rest on the algae rocks rounded to a smooth knob. Belts of seaweed find resting places in
    pools of water clear as amber.
    1 hear the children’s screams from the ghost train shuttling in the distance, but the Atlantic
    calls me back towards it again. Stained by history, there’s something about this ocean that calls
    to me, healing my winter worn trunk.
    Perhaps it’s there, deep in the blue where 1’ll find solace. Where old wrecks filled with tales
    from when time began, uniting stories of inland folk finding gods in the wilderness of boglands and
    meeting goddesses of the deep.
    Tara, 1reland’s spiritual home, cries out to ancient hearts, save her from the greed of fools
    who’ll rip her soul apart.
    1n myths we recall our living past, woven as carpet on the landscape. 1n stones, trees and bog;
    in birds, horse and dog.
    The stitches of the wisdom keepers relay story, song and poem, secure in the bright knowledge that
    their words will have a home.
    Oh sacred bile, Oh graveyard Yew, the Hawthorn and the Oak;
    the Hazel, Alder and the Rowan, the Willow and the faery folk.
    Pay homage to the spirits of Tara, the ones who went before
    the Warriors, Bards and Kings, the Queens and many more.
    Losing My Religion
    1t wasn’t easy growing up around the fortress
    of a garrison town. When the troubles were our second coats,
    fear our constant companion.
    The instinctual things a teenager had to know by heart, by soul.
    What side of the street was yours to tread?
    Cover up the school uniform in the town, or it sealed your fate like a patriotic tattoo, or a flag
    always flying; when certain colours
    out of safety zones meant a potential beating.
    Knowing to keep your head down when the
    landrovers followed you home. Divided by a war we didn’t fully understand.
    When escape meant the border singing 1rish songs of freedom, horslips and Celtic rock without the
    watchful eye of bigots.
    Now the shroud of war is lifted,
    1 can envelope myself in the beauty of my own country without fear or regret.
    Either Side of the Headlines
    You waltzed on orange lino between hearth and couch, lilting like a spring sparrow;
    securing a strong arm on Ma’s back, not once out of step.
    News headlines guaranteed silence. Your face etched in thick lines enhanced by concentration.
    Ma presents corn beef and tomatoes, which you eat noisily without teeth.
    Coal spits from the unguarded fire, sending smoke signals from the half-circle rug.
    My daydreams, fractured by cutlery, moving on the empty plates.
    Omagh from above –
    a butterfly in full bloom, spreading her wings.
    Scars on the hillsides – gorse no longer wave careless youth.
    Spiders’ patterns on conifers
    wearing a fine shawl.
    Cracks in the pavement, ants pulling
    a fly.
    Daughter Dear
    Must you count every calorie?
    £very ounce of fat in the shopping bag? She’s disgusted at the amount of them in one lousy biscuit.
    We argue the toss about the taste of full milk and creamy butter,
    and ‘How in the hell do ye eat fried bacon?’.
    1 know she has a point; yet
    1 play it down just in case this takes over her life and she eats nothing at all, she at that age
    when everyone in the magazines are whisper thin, and without blemish.
    Our ancient bloodlines are calling to us; interrogating us
    with wisps of insight.
    They are turning
    in their boggy graves, surfaced over time.
    They rise out from small lakes hidden on the land.
    Through dreams at night, and ponderings of the daylight.
    Among glen and forests, and from branches of the thorn and elder.
    From the angler’s rod cast on rivers. On salmon longing for the open seas.
    1n tales, myths and poetry their marks will not fade like snapshots in the sun.
    Our lands are piled
    high and low, deep and wide with blue prints of a time when
    spoken signals were the headlines.
    Our ancestors are turning in their graves.
    Losing shadows that follow from these troubled acres is hard going at times.
    When it’s those same shadows you seek to understand
    what it all came down to.
    Three in the morning brings relief; nature is more calmer and cools to a creaking lullaby.
    Some birds sleep sound.
    The urban ones
    blether through the night.
    The moon solemnly gives orders to orchestrate the night crawlers on missions. She casts shadows
    in dimly lit corners of the globe. She’ll never be the sun, blitzing the crops, warming
    the shadows.
    But she’ll always be the catalyst, calling you back to the past.
    Loneliness has a bite, not a nibble,
    but a razor sharp bite.
    Morning flounces openly showing off its tie-dyed light. The hills beyond my window, glazed by the
    blown in off the Atlantic,
    fusing Donegal, Sligo and Tyrone in a painters paradise of shade.
    The starlings argue for space on the corrugated garage roof.
    Unnerved by the chatter on the floor-court, they’ve made a tiny field on the roof, green as the
    Loneliness has a bite, razor sharp, and 1 need it like the views 1 see.
    1t calls me back to nature,
    makes me more aware of the innocence and beauty of the forgotten.
    Mise Eire
    Talk to me of bogs,
    of blankets on the land.
    Talk to me of myths
    you have at your command.
    Tell me of Cu Chulainn, the hero hound of Ulster,
    the battles of the Tain Bo and the warriors of Munster,
    the progress of the firbolgs. The De danaans on the hill
    remind me of our legends of folklore through the quill.
    Talk to me of forests,
    of flora and fauna there.
    Talk to me of mountains in Tyrone and in Kildare.
    Tell me now of the future of equality in the land.
    Speak to me of serenity,
    so the tribes can understand.
    Oak Lake, County Tyrone
    1t’s easy to imagine
    these scooped out hollows were once filled with ice; melting as the did stamping kettle holes on
    the landscape.
    The lake waltzes to and fro like a child mesmerized by magical stories voiced by an old teller of
    1ts edges flanked with an audience of purple moss, pink cranberry flower and the burnt orange of
    summer gorse, all paying homage by showiness.
    A clump of rushes moves slightly. 1 think of childhood tales of
    the watershee luring one off to the silver world of faeries.
    The light of the day now slipping ever so peacefully behind the
    peaks of the Sperrins. 1 shall go now and take its essence with me,
    to sooth my night quests ahead.
    Morning Has Broken
    The early morning frost leaks through the old frames.
    Frozen webs leave intricate patterns that should be framed for prosperity.
    Shadows flank the hills as mist gathers like midges on Lough Muck. Cows huddle for heat at the
    hedge, leaving billowing clouds of breath.
    Below, the newly built Texaco garage begins the alien noises of the day.
    Car doors slam, hydraulic breaks scream, and school kids fill up with energy.
    Then like an open wound, the horizon splits the grey morning, bringing with it
    a baked setting full of challenges and hope for coming hours.
    Mirror 1mage
    1 see him stroll along Bridge St. in his chef’s outfit,
    with his 1-Pod firmly placed in his ears;
    hair growing out of one style, curls at the collar.
    He’s got his grandpa’s dimple pressed urgently on his chin; touched by the angels 1’m told.
    The spitting image of the grandpa; the way he nods hello,
    head slightly lowered,
    eyes raised in a half-shy way; a moon crest grin.
    His arms swallow me in an umbilical comfort.
    Strong now, his surly grip releases worries that 1 carry.
    Morning Stroll
    Petrol spills from engines glisten like magic rainbows in the wind cursed mid-day. Red robins leave
    watery drips on jeans and T-shirts flapping on clothes lines,
    dotted at the gardens of Okane. 1’m annoyed still at the
    new great Northern road, carved seven miles into the Tyrone countryside.
    Still, there’s snickets and fences to master before 1’m on the old road again. Traffic now slows
    for the odd tractor and a pair of
    fast walkers with earphones. A crafty sheep dog darts along the hedges, ushering rebel sheep. A
    whistle in
    the wind brings them into line again.
    My shawl catches on the overgrown Brambles. 1 laugh as if somehow they do it for badness.
    Crows squabble high in roosts. Leaves shower the road and me. The heat has brought out midges. They
    hover at the burn that creeps along the bank, making
    its way to the lough.
    Night Falls Soon
    The powder pink evening combs the sky of summer, like a comet trailing.
    My eyes dance the last waltz of daylight hours.
    A fiery thrush bobs its tail, singing out its last chorus whilst gathering up the young, dallying
    below in town.
    Trees in eyeshot
    fan the horizon in gestures of a soft wave, calling the night creatures, return to the hedges and
    stone walls.
    For the sun has retreated, and the mistress of the moon
    has beckoned her night creatures on missions over field and stream.
    The wail of the sleek tomcat serenades the urban air, drifting
    out to rural pathways – on the prowl.
    Old Societies
    Rain takes on a silver sheen thundering past the window, encouraging the worm to rise.
    Already the blackbird furrows with his yellow beak, knowing what lies beneath.
    1 think of pre-historic societies leaving their stamp on the land in stone circles, megalithic
    tombs, standing stones and raths.
    1 imagine they were signposts pointing the safest way ahead to the nearest village; gathering
    points, perhaps. Their own creations dotted about
    the landscape.
    1 feel a
    certain kinship with them – those who came before.
    The worm: 1 wonder what its
    aura holds? What has it come upon whilst pushing clay,
    slipping into worlds unseen?
    1 wish the rain to cease, the blackbird to scarper
    and the worm to live another day.
    Oldcroghan Man *
    This island is a living carpet, worn by clans of cousins who weaved into the land
    a pattern not for the the untrained eye.
    Oldcroghan man,
    baked in this oven of peat, symbolizes our spent lineage of boundaries and fields.
    Beheaded and tortured, he stood tall as a pine tree.
    Who was this nameless lad? A high king, killed in ritual,
    or killed in a jealous rage?
    Was it a warning to other youths who may yearn for the new, denouncing the old?
    1 wear a leather twang like his, woven with love on May Day. The hands of Croghan man hold no
    labourers welts,
    but groomed nails; ideally cleaned.
    He joins others that came before: Meeybradden Woman and Gallagh man.
    They come to remind us to read the bog
    chapter by chapter; learn from ghosts of the past.
    * Oldcroghan man is the latest body to be unearthed after 2000 years in the bog. Found in Co.
    Offley 1reland.
    The teens have called time on life before it’s even begun.
    Slavery of a sort hangs in the air.
    They starve themselves in a time of fruition; convince themselves that they’re too ugly to go out.
    Trapped by their own demons, visual demons that scrape
    at their youthful bodies, drilling, thin, thin, thin,
    from the magazines on news stands; from the plasma screen
    in their bedrooms.
    They don’t believe in flaws, the odd spot, scar, ruddy skin,
    eye slightly bigger than the other. They have bought into perfection;
    captive also to drugs that alter their minds. For some, there’s no way back.
    They’ve called time on life, before it’s even begun.
    Lough Derg St. Patrick’s Purgatory, 1979
    Tricha and 1 were punks in the war years.
    To rid us of defiance our Mas’ sent us off to Lough Derg.
    The basilica rose out of
    the morning mist like a vision out of a Hammer horror movie. The boat ride fearsome,
    as the oldies prayed with the bishop. This was it three days fasting,
    no sleep and no shoes allowed. We followed the elders, kneeling, praying and walking. The all-night
    vigil blasted us like a raging argument.
    Rain fell hard off the Pettico Hills, wind from the Atlantic.
    Stopping at cells with names
    of early missioners: St Brigit, Brendan,
    Columba, Patrick, Davog and Molaise.
    For three days food was black tea and dry toast. We touched the resources of spirit within.
    We thought of home, of
    ‘My perfect cousin’and ‘anarchy’. We were heroes then,
    amid the barricades.
    Black 47
    Often in times of deep meditation, walking through the Tyrone hills,
    1’ll stand at a fence and ease my eyes out over the Sperrin mountain range. The fields so lush and
    full of fertility, the hum of agricultural goings-on.
    The views take me by surprise.
    1 think of the “starvation” that swallowed
    my ancestors – an image that stings the air still. Spirits roam these hills covered in mass graves,
    or deep in lanes were they fell, starved of food; food that was packed in ships bound for £ngland,
    to feed the chosen few,
    whilst the poor, here, ordered to eat only potatoes, died of structured starvation.
    1 can’t imagine what it’s like to go hungry, to be tortured by the power of it,
    to watch your child fade and die,
    to see a race almost wiped out; a race who tilled that same fertile land.
    Who is culpable? What of the mass exodus? Was there trickery involved? Greedy landowners offering
    ships bound for new lands
    where land, food and pay was promised. Thousands died on the rough seas.
    Others settled, always loving their spiritual home.
    Who will acknowledge this crime
    against the 1rish nation, a nation whose scars are plain to see even to the present day?
    Healing will begin only when we look
    into the past, were shadows linger and questions hang in the air. Dark Rosaleen still awaits an
    When old ladies in sheepskin jackets and headscarves walk by, 1 think of you.
    The secrets of motherhood drift into the air,
    in wisps of violets and wild roses.
    On the bells, too,
    of the sacred heart chapel, ringing out the angelus, in the click of rosaries
    in lofty chapels, in
    the call of the corncrake from distant hills,
    and from the headlines in newspapers
    that drift along dusty streets of sleepy inland villages.
    Your headscarf knotted tight under the chin brings a narrowness to your face, framing the Viking
    nose and Vinegar Hill pride.
    The wisdom of motherhood dwells deep inside of me like a well 1 can dip into, when sorely needed.
    St Colmcille
    1 think of this monk
    born on our barren lands. A time when blanket bogs covered most of its surfaces,
    and the sea the only way out.
    How his mother was visited by an angel saying he would spread faith
    and an understanding of Christianity throughout 1reland and beyond.
    Colmcille understood both tribes. Pagans he knew well, Christianity he was learning.
    A foot in both worlds.
    1 think of Jesus wandering in the desert, battling demons in the baking sun.
    Colmcille’s desert: a horizon met with deserted bog lands and mountainous hills from Derry to
    1 seek you in the lakes of Tyrone, the lesser known ones whose beauty remains unblemished by
    progress. 1n the curling streams at war
    with the elements, and whose very existence is threatened by housing developments.
    1 look for you as summer coughs up its last songs of the season.
    1 seek your words in her breath, in the secrets of motherhood asleep in the elderly, yearning
    recall once again.
    1 seek it, too, in the faces of youth, in the songs they sing from
    the concrete forests they live in.
    1 also seek it in me, when dark clouds gather up a storm.
    That Age
    1 think 1’ve reached it: this middle ground in life.
    Crows feet emerge without negotiation; bunches of greying hair hover like mist on the October
    My offspring have fled the roost, making their own now. Wasn’t easy being Ma and Da. 1 think of the
    failed mixed marriage, the 80’s being a time of change –
    fusing bodhran and lambeg was no easy task.
    1’m beginning to resemble my mother. Her frown and
    pondering nature, her hand on hip, stares out to the horizon .
    my father’s need for the headlines . 1 stand still in a changing field,
    like the Ogam stones of Tyrone, grey and pointing skyward.
    There are many tracks before me, all leading down some road.
    Morning pains subside in the summer heat, like the creaking wood of the stairs. 1 think 1’ve
    reached it:
    endured the dark nights of the soul. What now?
    Thoughts on the Wing
    1t’s 4.30 in the morning. Wild birds sleep none nowadays. Their talk
    in the moonless night takes my thoughts,
    as dawns sheet appears among the diamond sky. They float over brook and riverbed,
    under ancient bridges amid fools gold that’s smoothed by salmon and rainbow trout.
    The May bush lifts them again, further afield to Lock £rne, Devenish 1sland, Killybegs where the
    fishermen gather
    to read the ocean; to the sifting sands
    of Rossnowlagh Strand were winter dwells, awaiting spring’s coat;
    returning home refreshed,
    just as dawn bursts her seams.
    Between love and hormonal shoals of friends.
    £stranged from birth flock without the pack seem lost.
    A fawn dislodged from mother, struggling to locate semi-safe ground.
    Her heart warmed by another’s fiery arrow. Confused, yet amused by gestures and similarities of
    The angst inside 1 assure will subside, when no longer can she play tug-of-war in the playing
    fields of youth.
    A warm smile displays, like a cabinet, newfound pearls of wisdom:
    that one day she’ll walk without the safety net. Sure of balance
    Sure of love.
    The Fiddler
    He cosies it under the chin, or thereabout,
    like a favourite scarf from college days.
    The music already forming in his mind’s eye.
    He’s played this air a thousand times, yet each time it surges from
    a different notion.
    The horsehair bow
    gallops a few times in practice for the main event.
    The listeners, young and old, heed the waltz with arms outstretched.
    He rests on the waltz. ‘Give me your hand’
    The dancers glide in perfect sway to the fiddler’s tune. Like a shaman he leads them to another
    time when music filled the night air under stars. His ears are on alert, watching for one wrong
    The dancers care not,
    they are lost in the music of the fiddler.
    Annaghmakerrig 2002 *
    The big house greets with an air of mystery, petitioning to the gods a poem or song
    to touch all our yesterdays.
    The lake pretends to scowl at night and wraps the waiting horizon in thought. The ruthless breeze
    is laden with insight.
    Songs find their way through the air. The hearth inherits the fallen spruce, whilst artists gather
    their cares.
    Spoken signals gather like crochet, fermenting works that ooze out in dreams, and filter into
    daylight masterpieces.
    * Annaghmakerrig is a house in Co. Monahan, left in the will of theatre director Tyrone Guthrie for
    artists of all disciplines to “create” away from the interferences of the world.
    My Sort of Day
    This is the sort of day
    that memories weave a carpet in shades of fallen leaves
    or in tones of winter’s coat.
    The sort of day when love greets
    with a pregnant smile below the baked horizon.
    The sort of day
    the Tyrone hills emerge through the mist like gods awaiting the day’s offerings.
    The sort of day
    cobwebs freeze lunar patterns on hawthorn bushes
    like maps to the silver world.
    This is the sort of day wars should end, haters make amends
    and disease should be no more.
    The Sin Eater
    Together we sat on the confessional bench, listening to the click of heels on mosaic tiles awaiting
    the queue to die.
    A lady who lived in God’s house watched us girls with her salmon eye and every move we made.
    Whispered penances showered the chapel.
    Orderly shuffling from oldies denoted our turn now; our sins would be eaten.
    The gridded partition creaked like old knuckles. 1 almost forgot: ‘Bless me father’, as my
    knees located a softer spot on the floor.
    Beads sang in a distracting manner.
    Father Brown’s pressing vowels asked after my sins. My soul now white, 1 returned to the bench.
    Starlings at Dawn
    They flounce into my morning,
    just as dawn crawls over the roof, and squawk to locate their newly found songs; eager to appease
    mother who shimmies to and fro with mother’s pride.
    The corner of my roof carries noises. Claws scrape pleadingly on wood,
    discontented squabbles from one who lost the worm. Mother squeezes her narrow body through a corner
    crevice; her silhouetted wings accurately glide into place.
    1t quietens for a spell, until its time for a coaxed flight.
    Then it’s my turn to rouse the household sound asleep in the far room, away from the bird songs.
    Dear Sir
    Dear Sir,
    please excuse my son’s absence. He slept in.
    We slept in.
    The night before he studied into the small hours the mechanics of skateboarding,
    counting new bruises and fading others.
    How he can “ollie” sets of steps without broken marrow. 1t releases his anger,
    how the words of Curt Cobain relate to his 180-degree kick-flip, and the thrill of a half pipe,
    that being 16 messes with his head and no one understands.
    And how is it fair his girlfriend lives ten miles away, and he’s no car?
    Why work at the weekend tires him, and grunge pulls him through.
    So Sir, may 1 call you sir?
    1 hope you understand my son’s absence this time.
    Wet July ’07
    The late evening sky clamps its joyless cloud upon the market town.
    Cattle in the field beyond trudge towards the gate looking depressed.
    Without the TV forecast
    1 read the patterned clouds. Plain and purl columns
    knit their way towards me. Smoke signals, from the Victorian houses on Gallows Hill.
    That’s all it takes
    to ignite the fires here.
    1 await the storm, prepared.
    1 can’t pass a stream, river or seashore today without seeking them.
    The smoothed shapes, worn by the waves
    or carried by the escape
    of mountain springs, flowing toward brooks and burns, drawing upon them a golden glow.
    They take pride of place on my window sills,
    on doilies made of lace.
    Others might collect pottery or bone china,
    1 have an indoor rockery.
    Omagh: Seat of Chiefs
    Housing secrets down the ages in its under-belly, and
    in the layers of rock and street names:
    Castle Street, Gallows Hill, Goal Square, Canon Hill.
    Well below, the street’s scant
    passages lead to the heavy courthouse whose presence dominates the town.
    Voices of the past muted through its thick granite outpouring.
    The essence of its history also embedded
    in the gravely basins where the three rivers meet: the Drumragh, Camowen and the Strule.
    Rivers that unite in finding their way to the Atlantic – to cast their sins upon the waves.
    Tree House at Sloughen Glen
    On our way to Sloughen Glen, deep in the hills of Drumquin, we hardly notice the climb; yet feel it
    in our fume-filled lungs. Out of the side of a hill, amid brambles and giant ferns,
    a shell of a house appears with postcard views out over the Tyrone countryside.
    The gift of life still grows from its un-thatched roof: a gift in the form of a blackthorn tree. 1t
    grows with pride
    up through the rooms holding, 1’m sure, stories in its trunk. Memories of a time when its hearth
    was lit and life flourished.
    1 think of the family who may have lived there: children playing in the yard, a few livestock,
    1 listen to the quiet sounds of spring, and remember that the regeneration of small towns has
    crept nearer and nearer to the beauty spots. One day this may well be gone.
    Perhaps great grandchildren will return one day, seeking their ancestral home. They may;
    and find life grows there still.
    Where Man Fails
    1 see the beauty in the clear winter moon, spraying its steel haze over the old town.
    Where man fails,
    nature does its best; instilling life among the rubble and ruins of houses and parks.
    Where man fails,
    the elements rage at the world with warnings and threats of disasters.
    Where man fails,
    again, 1 see these familiar blanket bogs; and find hope in the solitude of them.
    A Prayer to the 1ntegrity of Words
    Bless the verbs and nouns that
    carry rivers of verse in their hour of need.
    Bless their totality of wisdom,
    greeting morality with novels amassed.
    Usage, bringing tribal flouncing and indecent drifting.
    Without the integrity of words
    our clans may never meet or greet,
    for many ensembles would slither unheard.
    A Cheated Spouse
    1 study your eyes; they waltz slowly, exposing the pain and sorrow of a cheated spouse.
    With the stubbornness of youth you refuse a tear,
    like a star dulled with the desertedness of distance; memories of love, then,
    when hearts leaped in unison. The tribal greeting of dewy lips, the sting of the lovers’ tiff.
    1t’s the eyes that dance death, lost in socket and bone;
    the cheated spouse now alone. 1 look into your eyes;
    with no surprise you refuse animation of memory with rage – as 1 think 1 would.
    Native Speakers
    1 envy your tongue,
    how the silvery words evoke the layered past of home.
    Snippets recalled from early youth slip out in dreams during the day-light hours; in particles of
    conversations on radio Telefis £ireann,
    wheezing from Da’s old wireless that needed time to heat
    for clearer contact.
    1 can’t translate without a book to help me,
    yet 1 don’t want to.
    The words
    of your poems
    speak for themselves.
    About the Author
    Aine MacAodha was born Ann Keys, in the North of 1reland in 1963. Her sense of place growing up
    amid the war in the north, and the beauty surrounding it, inspires her writing. This is her first
    collection of poems spanning ten years. The title of Where the Three Rivers Meet refers to the
    three rivers in Omagh that meet in the town’s centre: The Strule, Drumragh and the Camowen. She
    also draws much of her inspiration from The Sperrin Mountains, in her native Tyrone.
    Her work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies throughout 1reland (most recently in A
    New Ulster), the USA and the UK. She is a founder member of the Omagh Writers Group, The Busheaneys
    and The Derry Playhouse Writers, and is also a member of Haiku 1reland. 1n 2001, she received the
    Tyrone Guthrie Bursary from Omagh District Council.
    She is also an avid photographer, and her photographs can be seen at:
    http://ainesireland.webs.com/ http://www.redbubble.com/people/celticwheelyear
    She has three grown-up children, Michaela, Penny and James.

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