by Liam Boyle -
Now that the county is our oyster
and the weather app promises a window
before evening rain
we decide on an afternoon walk,
boardwalk over bog, a slight incline,
after lunch in The Purple Door, Leenane.
We start on a gravel path, a marked trail.
Now and then younger walkers,
lithe and light-footed, glide past.
This is the place to be,
crossing patches of bog on planks,
sniffing yellow furze in bloom,
stepping on lichen stained stones.
The slope gets steeper till,
faced with a wall of stone, I baulk,
I pause a moment, then press on,
rough slabs form steps slapped before me.
This is tougher than I thought.
A drizzle drenches me,
a welcome coolant on my face,
but the steps are slippier.
I climb with care, frequent breaks
to quell the lactate in my legs.
With each break I gaze at the changing scenery -
the higher I am the farther I see
back beyond Letterfrack.
At the summit I am Zeus
surveying the world of humans
as wind buffets my face and tosses my beard.
Through drizzle I see
hikers like ants on the trail below,
farms and bogland stitched together,
a car beetling along road
between tiny villages,
a silver thread of river
flecked white with distant waterfalls,
Kylemore Abbey a child’s toy
tucked at the edge of a pool.
In front, hills, harbour, sea, islands.
Behind, Twelve Pins like titans’ teeth
threatening to chomp.
And here, sparkling quartz and white marble
remind me of the age of mountains,
the age of rock and earth,
and how this height once was
the bottom of the sea.
Liam Boyle was born in Drogheda and moved to Galway in the 1970s. He wrote poetry in his teens and twenties but then stopped. He started again recently and has rediscovered its joys and challenges. He has been published in the Galway Advertiser's Vox Galvia page and has been a featured reader on Galway’s Over the Edge readings.