From 'Ireland in Poetry' edited by Charles Sullivan
M I C H A E L L O N G L EY ( B O R N 1939 )
Poems in the palm of the hand, life-lines.
Fingers tapping the ridge of the shin-bone.
The bridge of the nose, fingerprints, breath:
Then the silvery skin of the lifeless,
Ivy increasing the secrets, the answers —
The physician's power in cold dwellings.
Candles behind this veil of synonyms.
A blind man's lovely wife and signature.
There is a stone such as this a few steps from the house in which we used to live, in Ireland. The story of the stone goes like this:
A man found the stone lying in a hedgerow and thought to himself, "Now that would make an excellent doorstep into my cottage. Alone, or with help, he dragged the stone down the hill and placed it ourside the door to his cottage. Well pleased, he retired to bed for the night.
The following morning, on looking out, he discovered that the stone had gone. Angry, he set off to find the thief. He walked back up the hill and, to his astonishment, found the stone lying exactly where he had found it.
He ran in fear, back down the hill.
The story goes that it belonged to a fairy princess and that he had disturbed her resting place.
In fact, the stone belongs to a prince, or person of reknown at that time. This can be read from the markings on the stone. They are called 'Ogham Stones'.
The stone in the photograph is of the Dunlough Ogham Stone
(Commissioner of Works, Ireland)