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THE GATE TO MULCAHY’S FARM PAUL PERRY The gate to Mulcahy’s farm is crooked, sinking into infirm soil like a ship from the Spanish Armada if you like, forged and felled in some dark cave to find itself jaded with flaking eroded gilt leaving the striations, prison-like, shaded a coppery green. A gate without a handle and unlike all others in any neighbouring field without the dull sanguine frame that swings to and fro like a hinge, or a door itself to some other world. No, this is no ordinary gate and there is something majestic in its stolid refusal to swing, something absurd even. Perhaps this is another version of heaven, imagine the bedroom it might once have graced, this brass headboard, this discarded, transported remnant of love’s playground, and look, two golden and intact globes rest on either end, both transcendental transmitters, receivers maybe of rough magic, piebald love, communicating not sleep, sleep no more, but wake, wake here to the earth and imagine if you want THE GATE TO MULCAHY’S FARM 79 the journey of such an armature of fecund passion, what hands gripped these bars, what prayers were murmured through the grate of this ribald cagery? Imagine too the man who must have hurled and pitched and stabbed this frame into the ground, in a dark rain of course after his wife had died, her passing to us unknown though you know this that there must have been some act of violence within this frame-work, some awful, regrettable pattern caught in the form of what, wind rushing through a brass headboard, an exclamation point to the querulous division of fields, could we be talking border-country, and the broken, airy, moss-eaten stone walls. Think about when the farmer died and the farm was sold, think about what happened, the field, empty of its cows, still with its stones and grey soil, maybe this is Monaghan, maybe some day it, the brass headboard you are looking at now, will be sold to an antiquarian in a Dublin shop, brought there on a traveler’s horse and cart, not smelted down or disassembled, but sold to a shop where some lady with a wallet will buy the thing, the elegant shabbery before you that is the gate to Mulcahy’s farm. As for the bed itself, we can speculate, let it have sunken into the earth, or better still let the earth be the bed, the cot, mattress and berth to this sinking headboard, this beautiful incongruous reliquary of misplaced passion. THE GATE TO MULCAHY’S FARM 80 ...


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pp. 79-80
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