Nathanael O’Reilly

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Drive east across the Burren

before dawn down dark

boreens between hedgerows 

and stone walls, headlights

carving through blackness

like rainwater through limestone.

Climb through Caherkinalla,

glide past the milking parlour

beside sleeping citizens curled

inside whitewashed stone.

Cross the Deelagh River,

go by Ballynagowan

Castle and Kilfenora

Cathedral veiled in darkness,

onwards towards sunrise, 

through Ballycashin, down past

Killnaboy, solitary

on pre-dawn roads, moon and stars

barred by thick clouds, ever east-

wards, climbing to the north

of Crooked Moher, south

of the Giant’s Playground,

through Lemonfield and across

the Clare/Galway border

and its holy well, destined

for Thoor Ballylee burrowed

in the woods on the banks

of Streamstown, springing vision. 

Michael Quigley

Let us praise Michael Quigley

who crossed the seas by ship

from Ireland to Australia

Let us praise Michael Quigley

who swam two miles each morning

in the frigid Southern Ocean

and taught his four local-born

children to swim at Pea Soup

in the cool sheltered rock pools

Let us praise Michael Quigley 

who drove a red bulldozer

for the state, helped create, carved

the Great Ocean Road through bush

farmland, along cliff faces

over hills, headlands and creeks

Let us praise Michael Quigley

who transported the songs

of Dublin to the Moyne banks

sat in his favourite armchair

playing She Moved Through the Fair 

on his old harmonica

Let us praise Michael Quigley

for he built a six-foot-tall

bluestone wall around his land

on the hilltop with a view

of the ocean, surrounded

an acre of potatoes

Let us praise Michael Quigley

who taught his grandson to wield

a trowel, lay brick, smooth concrete

and carry his skills across

the ocean to a new home

repair crumbling foundations

Nathanael O’Reilly is an Irish-Australian poet residing in Texas. His books include Boulevard(Un)belongingBLUEPreparations for DepartureDistanceSuburban Exile and Symptoms of Homesickness. His poetry appears in journals & anthologies from fourteen countries, including AnthropoceneBealtaineCorditeThe Elevation ReviewThe MadrigalMascaraPonder ReviewSheila-Na-Gig and Westerly.