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The Radio was Gospel by Elaine Feeney

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Bog Fairies

Feeney, Elaine

The heather like pork belly cracked
underneath my feet –

The horizon like nougat, 
meltedits pastel line at the heat edge
blue fading to white light.

We stacked rows of little
houses for bog fairies –

wet mulchy sods
evaporating under our small palms.

Crucifixtions of dry brittle crosses
formed the skeleton –
my narrow ankles parallel to them.

Coarse and tough like the marrow of the soul,
like the skeltons crucified under the peat.

The turf will come good

my father said

when the wind blows to dry it.

We dragged ten-ten-twenty bags
with the sulphury waft of cat piss,
along a track dotted 
with deep black bogholes,
over a silver door, 
like  a snail’s oily trail 
leaving a map for the moon,
for bog fairies to dance on the mushy earth.

And behind the door once upon some time
old women sat in black shawls
bedding down Irregulars 
and putting kettles on to boil 
for labouring girls.

But I was gone.

I was dragging Comrades from the Somme
I was pulling Concords in line with Swedish giants
I was skating on the lake in Central Park
I was crouched in the green at Sam’s Cross
I was touring Rubber-Soul at Hollywood Bowl
I was marching on Washington with John Lewis

I was in the Chelsea Hotel with Robert Mapplethorpe,
he was squatting on my lap with his lens,
swearing to God to Janis Joplin I could find her a shift,

nothing is impossible when you blow like that girlfriend.

I sang Come As You Are in Aberdeen with union converse,
petrol blue eye liner and mouse holes in my Connemara jumper.

I was anyone but me
I was anywhere but here

We rushed to hurry before the summer light would fade
because animals needed to be washed and fed –

And turf needed to be stacked –

And all the code talk of our youth 
would be said behind our hands.

Because light was the ruler as it closed in around us,
like the dark on the workmen deep in the channel tunnel that night.

The black light killed the purple heather –

Yet I danced on the crackle in the dusk –

I crackled on the dust in the heather –

My dance on the heather turned to dust.

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