Níl aon tinteán

by Ronán P. Berry

If this ramshackle dwelling still had the hearth
it would tell a thousand tales of those days.

Galvanised sheets conceal the space
left vacant by untended, rotted thatch.

Shattered panes in timber window frames
reminisce in autumnal sunshine

of men suited and booted for a fight,
of whispered comings through a half door

hurried goings out through parlour windows,
through back haggards, by summer hardened dung- hills

until they vanish like hailstones dissipated in long grass
in pursuit of some other sympathetic billet.

Nights, they lie like tin-canned sardines;
tops and tails on a confederate bed,

sanctuaries from where, in idle hours
to dream of reconciliation, the old adage:

‘Níl aon tinteán’
bleeding from each one’s bosom.

Ronán P. Berry is a poet, traditional ballad singer and teacher from Co. Wexford.