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The Web Poetry Corner - James Bredin - We cut turf at Lissycasey

We cut turf at Lissycasey


James Bredin

We cut and foot turf at Lissycasey when I was a boy,
Wore heavy woolen sweaters and short pants of corduroy,
We left the turf soft and wet in the sun to get hard as a rock,
Came back a week later and foot it up in a circular block,
To catch additional wind and dry and harden even more,
Never had or wore gloves and our hands were always quite sore.

We hitched a ride in a lorry going out the Kilrush Road,
And then walked the winding bog road for miles with our load,
We used a heavy spade with one side called a "shlawn" by the Gaels,
Backbreaking work but we needed turf to stay warm and prevail,
Because in those rough war times coal could not be had or bought,
Not for heating houses but ironworks where a war was being fought.

The bog was a swampy quiet place with no trees and few birds,
Fewer people far away working wearily alone without words,
But the quiet tranquility of the bog was sometimes broken,
By flying Constilations heading out for the Atlantic Ocean,
From Rinanna to Gander they had enough fuel for one hop,
Then on to New York to their final destination stop.

And now I read the bog and all that world has completely changed,
New houses, improved economy and everything rearranged,
And young people from Ennis now live and commute back and forth,
Where I cut turf, boiled the billycan and had a turf fort,
And at the end of the day we hitched a ride back into town,
Tired and weary though I seldom if ever wore a frown.

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