Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cutting the Holly

Cold and Frigid
like the graves
we trod upon
Indecent in our haste
to leave their mortality behind us
We clamber over the bough and sometimes fence
that divide the living and the dead in Carrig

"Be Still!"
In the quietness
"Can you hear it?"
"Like the running of a bath!"
Our young ears questioning
the sound domestic so familiar
"out here?"
"In the wild?"

Strange looking bushes
with leaves so sharp
as sharp as daggers
and berries so red
just begging to be eaten

"Don't!" warns Dad
as he tips the back of my
small and reaching hand
with a nicotine stained finger..
"poison to us but food for the fairies"

"We're here now.."
all the gang
Cathal & Len & Esther and Barry and Tommy
Reuby too and our Dads
out to cut the holly
for our street doors
....a Wexford tradition

..then I see it
as big as Niagara
and wider still
to my young eyes

Roaring forever into my consciousness
Carrig River
tumbles and falls
upon moss draped rocks
rushes past us on it's way to the sea

desperate like all of us to get away
though we don't know it yet
aching to return....

a Wexford tradition

A pilgrimage from the Republic of Davitt Road South....
I was barely three when I was first brought out to Carrig River by my Dad and Charlie Golden. Jimmy Whelan and Thomas, Jackie Kirwan and Barry as well while our next door neighbours Andy Nolan and Reuby came out too If I was an honour for us "out of towners"..the Kiernans (Dublin) and the Nolans(Kilkenny/Laois)to be included in this Christmas pageant that generations of Wexfordians had done....particularly in the hallowed confines of the Carrig River demense where Mother Nature is at her finest at any time of the year but particularly so in Advent.

The Graveyard is a shrine to our fallen of 1798 and the turbulent and sad history of those times before and since where rebel and yoeman deep in slumber lay, side by side, comrades in death if not in life.

This little brook rushes out to Wexford Harbour just above Ferrycarraig (pictured) many memories I have of this place, all of them happy but now tinged with sadness as the mortality we never dreamt of reaches out to take us home.