It is December in Wicklow:
Alders dripping, birches
Inheriting the last light,
The ash tree cold to look at.
 
A comet that was lost
Should be visible at sunset,
Those million tons of light
Like a glimmer of haws and rose-hips,
 
And I sometimes see a falling star.
If I could come on meteorite!
Instead I walk through damp leaves,
Husks, the spent flukes of autumn,
 
Imagining a hero
On some muddy compound,
His gift like a slingstone
Whirled for the desperate.
 
How did I end up like this?
I often think of my friends’
Beautiful prismatic counselling
And the anvil brains of some who hate me
 
As I sit weighing and weighing
My responsible tristia.
For what? For the ear? For the people?
For what is said behind-backs?
 
Rain comes down through the alders,
Its low conductive voices
Mutter about let-downs and erosions
And yet each drop recalls
 
The diamond absolutes.
I am neither internee nor informer;
An inner migr, grown long-haired
And thoughtful; a wood-kerne
 
Escaped from the massacre,
Taking protective colouring
From bole and bark, feeling
Every wind that blows;
 
Who, blowing up these sparks
For their meagre heat, have missed
The once-in-a-lifetime portent,
The comet’s pulsing rose.

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