At Carrowdore

We can see the spire above the trees –
Church of Ireland, proudly Anglican –
but have to stop for local expertise.
Can ye drive up there? Ye surely can!

There are no signs, and no encouragement,
as though our errand's wholly frivolous,
and this a place of pilgrimage that's meant
for other and less worldly travellers,

so in this quiet place where, tightly wound,
the champions of church and lodge relax
and reach an understanding, underground,
we walk the rows of sundry Mcs and Macs.

He's closer to the church than we expect,
until we recollect his pedigree:
though not exactly one of the elect,
he can assert the ties of family.

Sprouting from the grave, a sickly fuchsia,
touched too much by frost, a faded grey,
braces itself for an inclement future.
Cut it right back, prune it ruthlessly,

she says; it will grow back as good as new.
We take a last look round before we go –
the sloping paths, the customary yew –
and picture it beneath a fall of snow.


David Callin