i.m. J.G. Farrell

This twelve-foot torque is the iron ghost
of an ancient wheel, turning riveted slats
back and up. Now stuck, now moving again
scattering jewels through bright air
from a twist-stream bucketing
over slimed rock by the Library,
combing tangled grass to emerald hair.

This gash at the top of town, with its whiff
of Hades, is where we catch our glimpse
of what’s below. From here on down, we join
the hectic ow to the ordinary: tarmac, the Spar
and chip-shops, the cafés and whispering
silver-and-isinglass mud of Bantry Bay.
But churning or still, fortune’s wheel

sets the pace. And this wet rock, grey
as a sea lion taking a dive to the dark,
plus this pour-down of spark-froth entering town
by way of the burying ground, run under it all:
under Vickery’s and the famine graves,
under the boarded-up House of Elegance,
the fire station and two-room museum

offering memorabilia of martyrs, butter-making,
caring for sheep and photos of where we are
as it used to be; reports of sea-wrecks
and sea-rescue; the resin replica of a cross
descrying the quest of St Brendan
for Isles of the Blest. There’s been so much
I haven’t attended to. So much I didn’t see.