Shore Road to Roscam Abbey

I walked upon an ancient road
Slowly taken now by the sea,
The Atlantic tides ebbed and flowed
I walked the line of seaweed.

Thought I, while stumbling on pebbles there too
And rocks, and gravel much like shale,
In a summer breeze was hard to do
Never mind a wild strong winters gale.

“This is life!” This road that once on a map
From fishing village to church here led, (1)
Where torn waves splash and slap
As I walk to see the dead

Where they; – some neath faded carved stones
More in crypts and tombs worn, still grand
Yet more graves, barely marked, held bones:
Contemplating life and death, there I stand…

Among graves of those who died before the English lived
Who short hair as proper for the Irish decreed
In a time to come that is tragic history now
We suffer from still, each cruel deed…

Some march today to oppose our right (2)
To freedom, unity, culture that was won
Through lost rebellion, from Ballinamuck we did fight
To 1916 before we turned the gun

On out own, in Civil War, as England looked on and smiled
Bitter we scowl, argue, and bury our dead
These graves date from a time when a child
Would not have seen England on a map, but instead

A land where Irish kings got wives (3)
Norse and Gaelic there the tongues they’d talk
The ordinary folk, and monks, whose lives
I honour, as among their graves I walk.

This is life, among death, this is life’s map unfurled –
Our acts are the road and routes we draw
Which others must walk – we mould their world
Time in its waves and storms all shall destroy

Others to come will walk and wonder
At our maps, that future road, ruin and path
By then, by storms, erosion, torn asunder
And ponder us of the present, their past: and what we were at.

(1) Road to Roscam Abbey, and from there back into Ballyloughane and todays Renmore.
(2) Anti Irish Sea Border loyalist marches,
(3) Many Irish kings married Saxon princesses, including Brian Boru

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