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9 RAFTERY’S KILLEADAN SEAMUS HEANEY in memory of Michael Durkan Now spring is arriving and evenings are stretching And after the feast of St Brigid I’ll go For I’ve taken a notion and grown impatient To be back in the heart of the County Mayo. The town of Claremorris will be my first station, In Balla beyond it the strong drink will flow, In Kiltemagh next I’ll put up and be feted And in Ballina too, a few miles down the road. I swear and declare that my heart begins soaring Like a freshening breeze or a mist the winds blow When I think about Carra and crossing on over To Gallen and all of the plains of Mayo. Killeadan’s the place that is fruitful and fertile, There’s blackberries, raspberries, plenty of growth, And the minute I land there among my own people The years will drop off and I’ll get back my youth. There’s wheat and there’s barley, flax-crops and oats there, Rye with fine awns, red meat and white bread, Poteen distilling, illegal shebeening, People eating and drinking and out of their head. There’s ploughing and sowing and moulding and hoeing And other activities yet to relate, The mills and the lime-kilns at work unabating, A heaven on earth and no paying of rent. 10 The lough laps with water, the river keeps running, The weirs are in order, the nets in good shape, The pike and the trout and the eel swim down under, There are crabs on the bottom and seals on the top. The mackerel shoals there, at night comes the salmon, And elvers in millions awash in the surf, And lobster and tortoise and turbot and gurnet And the sea full of fish like a bog full of turf. There’s all of the timber that you could imagine, Sycamore, beech, fir, hazel and ash, Boxwood and holly, the yew, birch and rowan, And green oak that’s chosen for hull and for mast; Mahogany, logwood, fine-grained and expensive, That instrument makers esteem and expect, The apple and whitethorn being cut down and seasoned, And sally and willow for creel and for skep. There the thrush and the cuckoo answer each other, The hen-blackbird nests there, watched by the cock. There goldfinch and linnet are birds of a feather, The snipe whirring up and the lark on the bog; The eagle of Achill, the Kesh Corran raven, The hawk from Lough Erne and the white swan from Rome, And if you were up with the sun in the morning You’d hear every one of them sing in the grove. . . . The orphan and widow get aid and redress there, Their means are restored, their holdings are free, Poor scholars find schools there, get teaching their lessons, And the street is a haven for buskers like me. It’s the first in the world for decent behaviour. Raftery says so and gives it the palm. So now it’s long life to Frank Taafe who lives there And his people before him in Raftery’s home. 11 CILL LIADÁIN ANTOINE RAFTERY Tiocfaidh an t-earrach is beidh an lá ag síneadh tar éis na Féil’ Bríde agus ardód mo sheol, is ó chuir mé i mo cheann é ní chónóidh mé choíche, go seasfaidh mé thíos i lár Chontae Mhaigh Eo. I gClár Chlainne Mhuiris a bheas mé an chéad oíche, is i mBalla taobh thíos de is ea a thosós mé ag ól; go Coillte Mach rachad, go ndéanfad cuairt mhíosa ann, i bhfogas dhá mhíle do Bhéal an Átha Móir. Fágaim le huachta go n-éiríonn mo chroíse, mar a ardaíos an ghaoth, nó mar scaipeas an ceo, tráth a smaoiním ar Cheara nó ar Ghaileang taobh thíos de, ar Sceathach an Mhíle is ar Phlánaí Mhaigh Eo. Cill Liadáin an baile a bhfásann gach ní ann, tá sméara, sú craobh ann is meas ar gach sórt; is...


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