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Descent

For grandfather

You were a folklore figure 
famous for the wild things you did
some said, a kind of Achilles.

You lifted a scythe to a crop of oats 
cut a swathe the length of the field without stopping
some said, a powerful man.

You left a last indent of your head on a pillow
walked to work in Manchester
carrying a candle in your pocket.

You stepped into a crane bucket
to be winched forty feet below ground
where two men lay lifeless.

You were roped in the fireman’s chair knot
your cloth cap abandoned
on a sewer shaft floor.

You came back in the summer
when swallows skimmed waters at Riasc lake
and stooks of oats slanted in Lios Ban.
  
Four men held ropes tight
lowering you
slowly
down.

 

 

 

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