We follow high grass and dipping fields where a horizon is painted lead white and dark strokes lather the ocean. You speak of memory, but it doesn’t hold. Granite and limestone patch the landscape like obduracy and words are grabbed by wind even as the mouth lets them go. This is Gaelic territory, part of the tanistry, knowing its borders—men bartering and chewing privilege, or throwing song like hurled grain into a gale; where low houses are sparse as an invader’s dropped coin. The hewn land speaks in axe marks: beith, fearn, saill, duir, coll, naming the trees. Stone walls and bogland repel invaders, and untranslatable chants and cries—though Viking and Norman took what they could. A dip in the road is an empty begging bowl, left after the sóernemed travelled through. Old ways die hard; this country trusts no outsiders.
West Coast, Ireland
1 May 2017