The Souls

By | 1 October 2015


On the way to a funeral
in Cavan
a crow flew into the windscreen.

On the way to another funeral
in Cavan
a rabbit went under the wheel.

Listen! I heard souls shoot up
with a thump
straight to heaven,

then I sat in the seat
wondering what was coming
on the next straight stretch.


It seems the men and women
I’ve grown up with
have sprouted wings

or turned into hares —
for a split second —
at the final reckoning.

So I’m going to no more
funerals in Cavan.
Soon there won’t be a bird

or a badger left alive in the country.
And if you happen
to be coming over the Curlews

and kill a ferret,
turn back, friend, the chances are
you’ll meet my hearse.

From The Travels of Sorrow (2015), reproduced by kind permission of Helen Gillard/The Estate of Dermot Healy and The Gallery Press.

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