Posted by: Peadar Ban | May 19, 2009

Old Walls

He built them stone by simple stone
Fired and upthrown
From somewhere deep below.
This is all he knew.

They stretched across the yard,
And curled holding hard
To the gentle slope.
They were his hope

Of holding fertile soil
After a season’s toil
For the seeds he cast
For the plants at last.

Now they wander every way
Pitching curraghs in a bay
Before a driving rain.
The weeds regain

The slope he could not win,
Walls tumbled, soil thin.
Despite all this he knows
Flowers dancing as they go.


  1. Bangaan pano

    our friend David M. has several more lovely photos of the Banaue rice terraces from his recent trip to the Philippines…

  2. Thanks. I’ll check them out.

  3. Breathtaking…another Seamus Heaney?

    • I think my first reply was lost. What I said was that your comment was what was breathtaking. Then I suggested if you want real breathtaking check out the photos in the link sent by my friend Joseph. I’ve met the man who took them, a very nice fellow.

  4. Despite all this he knows
    Flowers dancing as they go.

    These lines are especially “touching.”
    Breathtaking, to me.

    The imagery overall is very nice ( I’m partial to the Irish landscape).
    Poetry is my least favorite literary from.
    The only poets I enjoy are Frost, Heaney, and some of Robert Burns. Yours fall into that category.

  5. I think “fall” is the operative word, and thank you for the accolade, which I accept most humbly.

    Someone once told me that what I wrote was accessible. That was years ago. He smiled as he said it. On my good days I think of it as a very kind and gracious remark. That’s the kind of man he is. On my bad days I reflect that Hallmark cards and the New York Post are accessible. 🙂


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