That year was black with falls of soot 
and clay dragged in from the cabbage patch. 
Stray cats came and took their chance
until their bites drew blood and then
they disappeared in a drowning ceremony.
Rain poured through the thatch.

The dog with three legs went hopping mad, 
barked at everyone who passed, 
neighbours, strangers, the country doctor 
who on the first of every month looked in 
on the woman from the eighteen hundreds – 
Grandmother who lived only 

for the Mysteries of the Rosary
and told me once not to look for poetry 
in the stars but out in the mucky yard
in the murmuring of the sally branches,
among the nettles and in the henhouse 
and on the dungheap her chickens scratched.

From A Song of Elsewhere, Dedalus, 2015

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