(first published in poetry anthology Poets in Northern Ireland 1996. Ballypitmave is a townland in the parish of Glenavy, County Antrim)
He looks out at me now from the stills, silent,
The man who thatched the homestead
Whitewashed the stone, tilled the field
Shot the fox, and dogs that got too old....
I remember now,
Just before his passing on.
He lay and rambled
On the standard '70s paisley-patterned sofa
The flames evaporating words
that fell on deaf ears -
they only heard the coughs and splutters
from the chest that got him in the end.
......Something about his forefathers
Good times and folks and ceili
Words lost to those who hurried by.
The unmarked grave is all that's left
In it lies buried all the legends of the past
'Tis a pity we hadn't listened at the time...
I hope I'll never be the rambling man.
by Shane McClurg