Outcrop of skull on the thin headland,
the seas pulsed with song,
communication that was a scar,
Rough hide of the coracle
containing men intent,
skin of the animal which covers the boat
still responsive in the sea,
an afterlife and spirit mission.
Surely, later, it was saints that saved them,
this settlement of scavengers
over from the homeland.
House on a hill that was a fort,
was where smiths won renown
better than battle,
forging tongue to this place.
Amphorae and ideas far sea sent,
greetings from Constantinople and Gaul.
Ireland’s second shore, a boast,
but living was thin as ribcages attest.
How to convince a sullen landscape
that you have won it?
Archipelago, spinal coast,
thin thread that no one
might have thought
would make a nation one day.
Picts came and did their worst
in the art of slaughter,
but they did not desecrate the place.
Horse-Lords, in the haar, who were here before,
the tribe rides the settlers’ backs.