by Attracta Fahy

All those storytelling nights sitting around 

a fire, the smell of burning turf circling in wafts 

between walls, the odd gush of smoke shaping 

into unnamed ghosts; always strangers.


Enchanted we were carried by spirits, fairy winds, 

the dark man with hollow eye sockets seen near 

the sheeháin gate. As peat melted to powdered ash, 

we threw in a few more a sods, a shush, rush of yellow 


flame sizzled into a small inferno, spouting red sparks, 

before a sudden surge of fire. An east wind squealed 

over the roof, howling through sash windows, 

up the stairs and around the house, twigs scratching 


at glass trying to get in. 

Not a word about our own buried history, brother 

against brother, those forced to leave, sons who died 

in the wars.

Nothing. Our dead, never the ghosts of storytelling.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at Galway City Museum  on 5th and 12th of November, 2022. The workshops were led by writer Gerry Hanberry.