Liberty Bell

(for Brendan Kennelly)

The little park is quiet and empty.

No sign now that once in the past

it was the cholera cemetery.

Jonathan and Stella are still together

under the Liberty Bell.

The bell ropes swing and the bells begin

their carnival of sound, their rollicking. 

Under a sky of ashen cloud,

in the greyness of February 

I discover again my Viking ground:

Brick dust, bone dust buried deep

beneath stone walls and cracked concrete

of a back lane daubed with tales out of school.

This was where they came,

the strange and stranger hordes

of Norsemen, Redcoats and Cromwell’s recruits

who planted cabbage seed

and kindled fires on which they cooked

hogshead and Liffey eels. 

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