Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Roads without Bend.

On January 31st, Sebastian Barry’s new novel, ‘Days Without End’ was announced as the overall winner of the Costa Book Awards for 2016. The award was only justice for Barry who has attained cult status that is not his thing but there it is! It’s a long, long way from the mild west of Wicklow to the wild west of Missouri to write more sacred scripture but seamless for a permanent gentleman. Sebastian becomes the first writer to win the overall award on two occasions having previously been successful with his inspirational novel “The Secret Scripture”.

By way of celebrating another Irish success the Prodigal thought it apt to string a few verses together based on some of the words and phrases found in ‘Days Without End’. Any man who chooses to name his children after a sea creature, a magician and a jug deserves nothing but applause. Here it is!

Roads without Bend.

When the strength died out of his father’s earth
And hunger pinched his fallen face
He met the moon and stars up close
Mirrors of a new disgrace.

Just a fragment of legend yet to come
Hatched under a hedge in wild Missouri
No compass or map; no direction
Just forward and future and certain furore.

The hunger wolves under hunger moons
Sand and Sioux, longing and thirst,
And always the question; who would survive
It maybe came down to who caught his horse first.

Now baked, then chilled, like a sweating wall
Loose as dawn and tight as noon
Face a collection of forgotten smiles
Just there; linger note of a banshee croon.

Afoot, black acres of fallen flames
Ashes like Lent Wednesday in Sligo town
Mississippi glancing sideways at Wilsons Creek
The whip-poor-will inviting perdition down.

Snow tonsure perched on mountain top
Just a simple sight some distance ahead
Like beauty and lesser swapping places in the face
Deposits from the living in accounts of the dead.

When all options are floated, memory picks itself,
Lace and shawl of winter on the shoulders of the hills,
Peering at the past through concave lenses
Bitterness buried in unmarked drills.

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