Sheared strands fall, feather-light onto flag stones.
Russet petals float over shattered glass.
The boys from the other end of town —
our Das’ hoisted bales by the mill field
and cut bread with a clean hay saw —
run the night roads, lit-up by bravado
and the moon-glint on a different set of blades.
By the dresser, a redundant comb
still woven with lustrous hair
from Friday’s dance,
will slip away beneath the soil
of disputed green fields
where precious tokens rust,
and dead hair clings on
for a hundred years and more.
A broken clasp, a tossed hairpin—
some Viking’s punishment perhaps?
—the middens bear witness
to epochs of women slighted.
Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at The Belfast Linen Hall Library, Belfast, in 2022. The workshops were led by Maria McManus.