hell fire

by Peter Humphreys

the mist
came over
dull mound
and took us
by surprise
as we clung
on the gorse
fringed ditch
lights come on
round Dublin Bay
from the Bailey
to Poolbeg to
the twin beams
of Dunleary's stoney arms
the mist took us
so much by surprise
we did not feel
the chill hand
on our backs or
the creeping damp
on our skins
stripped bare
as we lay
dreaming of
the Eve of St John
when bonfires set
the West alight
head to head
and bog to
curling wind swept bay
the cotton grassed
haven of our youth
but lost now we
are on familiar
paths of present
and past futuring
the fires of life

beneath the ditch
a solitary magpie
watches us


Author's Note: Above my home in Dublin stands Killakea Mountain. On its upper slopes is the Hell-Fire Club which has a notorious and sinister past. But all is one when the mist comes.

Posted on 06/16/2007
Copyright © 2023 Peter Humphreys

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 06/17/07 at 04:31 AM

Wonderful piece, Peter. And, "familiar paths of present and past futuring the fires of life" is terrific. I doubt any other country has such fantastic lore and history...tho', you know why I might be bias! Thanks.

Posted by Kathleen Wilson on 06/20/07 at 01:26 PM

The omen of the singular magpie presides here, along with the mist, ovelooking and cloaking all with misty eye. The richness of history and mythology cloaks this poem, as well as a sense of intimate real experience and memory, as if we are there in the "creeping damp".

Posted by Laurie Blum on 03/30/10 at 04:54 PM

Wow! I am so glad I came across this gem of a poem Peter! It is haunting in the most beautiful way... I can see this picture in my Mind's eye. You did a wonderful job conveying the scene and the emotion.

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