So, the title poem … As Paul Maddern noted, there’s a bit of Stanley Spencer in here, but it’s also a slant hymn to a landscape I love, between Ards and Belfast, woods and drumlins, farmland and small settlements, and of course Killysuggen graveyard itself where my paternal grandparents are buried.
The Resurrection of the Body at Killysuggen
To think it would happen just at the dawn of winter –
querulous rooks startled from bald woods
like banknotes from a fire. We are back in our bodies
if not back in our clothes, even the dead babies
reborn in the prime of lives they’d never had,
and the old-timers struck again by sex’s ambush –
the gravedigger’s shed is a boudoir, but so is
every headstone, obelisk, and grass-grown path.
A moss-gowned Virgin tactfully lifts her gaze
over a sandstone wall towards Bradshaw’s Brae.
There are hundreds of us making love here,
all in the blink of a trumpet. In a single note from an eye.