You'd think it barren, this lavender-grey rock.
But then up close, deep in mossy pockets,
you find cowslips, fragrant
orchids, bloody cranesbill,
blue-eyed gentians, thyme
and roseroot, maidenhair fern.
Rock become works of art,
labour of the back-broken centuries;
enclosing their cloak-of-patches fields,
these dry-stone walls are slabs
laid slantwise, tilted left then right;
set like fishernet, or herringbone;
patterns a fisherman's wife
would work for her man's gansey –
love's fingerprint in yarn – fishtail
and lantern for Pádraic; twisted cable
and hourglass for Colm. Against the day
the sea might return a body;
so there might be no doubt: the face
gone, a man's shell could drift home
with waves, and hearts, and scallops;
home to moss, and bramble, and fern,
making landfall in the arms
of tree-of-life; of honeycomb.