This bare orchard
Stands as mute as religion,
Frost bitten and numb,
Showing no signs of buds or blossom.
How I long for those bright banners,
With their promise of warm autumn evenings,
Eased with a lubricant of cider,
Tearing loose from tongues,
Those moments that life is made of,
Wrapping the ambivalence of the hour,
As it does, in a cloak of celebration.
Here on the banks of the Suir,
These bleak sentries,
Magic trees of lore,
Offer no solace
From the river’s dark anthem,
A slate grey voice
Echoing its grim vocation,
Its turbulent course
Having given up
More men this year than salmon.