Published in ‘Census’, The Second Seven Towers Anthology, December 2009


with some indications as to delivery ‘a la mode’


(Please strike a pose consonant with

the dignity of the lines you are about to deliver)

It is an ancient law enacted by

Aosdana that every Irish Poet be moved

to write about Newgrange once every year

for competitions, or to be declaimed

to multitudes in a monotonous poetry voice

(like this) while standing in the pouring rain

beside the ruins. Said poets should write, nay, sing

about the silence of her ancient stones,

the roundness of her ancient stones, the hardness

of her ancient stones, the ancientness

of her ancient stones, the stoniness of her ancient

stones. And how it is they yearly speak

to us (No, no! Read that again, and this time

lift the voice on ‘us’) … And how they yearly

speak to us across millenniums, nay,

millennia (Pause. Significant pause,

look up, stare at the audience, look down. Sigh).

And how the solstice penetrates her passage

yearly on the front page of ‘The Irish Times’.

And how the nation yearly feels the need

to re-discover prehistoric roots.

Or prehistoric Truths. Or. Booth.

And how the Nation casts its gaze back

to those ancient days (more feeling!) …

to those ancient days when men were men

and ate their meat raw, sucked the bones,

and dressed in off-the-shoulder furs, went clubbing

for their women, and had a deep relation-

ship with stones and knew the stars and how

to roll enormous rocks on poles (small ‘p’)

up from the Boyne Valley. Knew to carve

involved and complicated rings and loops

with their ancient tools, and knew the Mystery

of Life Itself, (pause) and how to chart

the sun (look up and pause again) to make it

strike along this passageway. Today

it can be done at any-old-tourist-time

thanks to the Board of Works installed a light

to creep along the floor when it’s switched on

like this: (*!) Excuse me, sir, but could you move

your foot a little… Thank you. (Bloody tourists!)

Now behold! (step back and gesture towards

the floor) The Sacred Light that lit the dark

before old Moses was a boy in britches!

See (step back again and mind your head)

The Sacred, Sacred Light that every year

attracts ten thousand weighty poems, replete

with abstruse references to the Druids, each poem

ten thousand times the weight, and more, of Newgrange,

and all her ancient stones. (*!)… Mind your heads

on the way out and please don’t help yourselves

to free souvenirs. It costs a fortune to replace

these old stones with new ones every year.

And there’s a bucket for tips at the entrance. Don’t fall over it.


    1. I’ve noticed there seems to be less Newgrange Poems around this year. Dare I hope that, in some small way…?


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