The Poetry Corner

Lettermore

By Francis Brett Young

These winter days on Lettermore The brown west wind it sweeps the bay, And icy rain beats on the bare Unhomely fields that perish there: The stony fields of Lettermore That drink the white Atlantic spray. And men who starve on Lettermore, Cursing the haggard, hungry surf, Will souse the autumn's bruisd grains To light dark fires within their brains And fight with stones on Lettermore Or sprawl beside the smoky turf. When spring blows over Lettermore To bloom the ragged furze with gold, The lovely south wind's living breath Is laden with the smell of death: For fever breeds on Lettermore To waste the eyes of young and old. A black van comes to Lettermore; The horses stumble on the stones, The drivers curse, - for it is hard To cross the hills from Oughterard And cart the sick from Lettermore: A stinking load of rags and bones. But you will go to Lettermore When white sea-trout are on the run, When purple glows between the rocks About Lord Dudley's fishing box Adown the road to Lettermore, And wide seas tarnish in the sun. And so you'll think of Lettermore As a lost island of the blest: With peasant lovers in a blue Dim dusk, with heather drench'd in dew, And the sweet peace of Lettermore Remote and dreaming in the West.