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Distance – Oliver Comerford / In Our Own Country – Eavan Boland

January 28th - February 3rd 2013

Oliver Comerford Distance

Eavan Boland In Our Own Country

In Our Own Country

by Eavan Boland

They are making a new Ireland
at the end of our road,
under our very eyes,
under the arc lamps they aim and beam

into distances where we once lived
into vistas we will never recognise.

We are here to watch,
We are looking for new knowledge.

They have been working here in all weathers,
tearing away the road to our village –
bridge, path, river, all
lost under an onslaught of steel.

An old Europe
has come to us as a stranger in our city,
has forgotten its own music, wars and treaties,
is now a machine from the Netherlands or Belgium

dragging, tossing, breaking apart the clay
in which our timid spring used to arrive
with our daffodils in a crooked, single row.

Remember the emigrant boat?
Remember the lost faces burned in the last glance?
The air clearing away to nothing, nothing, nothing.

We pull our collars tightly round our necks
but the wind finds our throats,
predatory and wintry.

We walk home. What we know is this
(and this is all we know): We are now
And we will always be from now on –
for all I know we have always been –

exiles in our own country.

from Domestic Violence

By kind permission of the author and Carcanet