This poem is taken from Stand 223, 17(3) September - November 2019.

Ellen Dillon Poem
from Common/Constitution

Lament for the Common Sphere

In case you needed another reason to believe insurers are sucking the life out of us, the industry has been identified as the dark force behind the slaughtering of thousands of healthy trees across Ireland. (Phoenix Magazine, 02/05/19)

Bards in Tipperary/ at the time of Cromwell’s clearing/ sang laments for the trees/ & the creatures they sheltered/ What will we do without wood? The end of the forests is on us/ keening a list of the ducks & geese/ eagles & bees/ cuckoo/ hazel/ holly/ berry/ all lost & scattered & gone//

Seán Ó Duibhir an Ghleanna/ John Dwyer of the glen/ caught in his love of the falling trees/ a song I sang/ an octave too high/ as my grandmother died/ & an Irish poem/ should zoom in close/ get lost in that moment/ attaching itself to a clock on the wall/ & a fading breath/ poor Seán/ gone game/ his shelter cut/ thrush & blackbird/ falling/ silent/ noble Ireland/ sloughed off like ash/ then scattered now gone//

The landscape desecrated by the razing of the forests/ has no earthly notion/ if it’s Cromwell or native common sense/ behind the felling/ this sense underlying our sight/smell/taste/ touch/ hearing/ that values savings on a premium/ over nerves of ash/ beech/ hazel/ hawthorn & all that in them dwell//

An Irish poem/zooms in so close/ trains its eye/ on the statue/ the hand/ the private moment/ deprived of a public presence/ it gathers up the fallen/ in a net of rustling words/ while outside the window/ nests are shredded / plants uprooted/ woodlands ransacked/ Seán Ó Duibhir & the scattered wild geese/ would puke at the sight/ of these butchered trees/ underwritten amputees/ stretching their stumps to the sky//
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