Thursday, October 06, 2005

# Posted 6:32 PM by Patrick Belton  

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL POETRY DAY! Go out and hug a poet. Being, as we try to be, a poetry-friendly blog, we have another Norman MacCaig poem chosen for us for the occasion by Máire, our artsy fartsy west of Ireland correspondent:
Aunt Julia

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
I could not answer her-
I could not understand her.

She wore men’s boots when she wore any.
-I can see her strong foot,
stained with peat,
paddling with the treadle of the spinningwheel
while her right hand drew yarn
marvellously out of the air.

Hers was the only house
where I’ve lain at night
in the absolute darkness
of a box bed, listening to
crickets being friendly.

She was buckets
and water flouncing into them.
She was winds pouring wetly
round house-ends.
She was brown eggs, black skirts
and a keeper of threepennybits
in a teapot

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
By the time I had learned
a little, she lay
silence in the absolute black
of a sandy grave
at Luskentyre
But I hear her still, welcoming me
with a seagull’s voice
across a hundred yards
of peatscrapes and lazybeds
and getting angry, getting angry
with so many questions

(Rings on a Tree 1968)
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