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Kevin M McDermott


Crossabeg, County Wexford, Ireland

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The Time of the Corncrake


Kevin M McDermott

The Corncrake time had come again and summer days were dawning,
The smell of gorse and meadow bloom did saturate the morning,

From the long grass came a sound like ‘scratch of comb on matchbox edge’.
The Corncrake had returned again to carry out it’s yearly pledge.

There I stood on route to school with shoeless feet and fear of cane,
I listened while the Corncrake claimed; 'You’re late again - You’re late again.'

With books in strap and wooden rule, I walked that stony road to school.
A frightened boy whose sums were wrong just like that corncrake’s so called song.

I stopped and rested on a ditch and thought perhaps that I should mitch,
But as I tried to concentrate that small bird made the earth vibrate.

With empty gut I hurried on with shoeless feet and fear of cane,
I listened while that Corncrake claimed; 'You’re late again - You’re late again.'

But many years have past since then, and many miles by boat and plane.
No longer does the fear of cane and problems penetrate my brain.

A life of eating London’s smoke has turned that boy into a bloke,
Now back again on native soil I smell the silage all the while.

How sad to find that my small friend no longer has a summer reign,
And now it’s my turn to complain; ‘You’re late again - You’re late again.'

The Swallows


Kevin M McDermott

One day in June as I was resting, two birds arrived and started nesting.
There in the rafters of our garage, I peeped and saw a swallow’s marriage.
Then in and out all day they flew, and built a nest with an outside loo.
When the feathered bed was made, a clutch of five small eggs were laid.
As mother sat to keep them warm, her husband watched in case of harm,
Until the day the brood was hatched, with gaping beaks and tufty thatch
Five chicks in all, a full delivery, and each one dressed in matching livery.

Then the feeding frenzy started, as in and out the parents darted
To vacuum up the summer skies, and keep those fledglings satisfied.
Soon came the day when strong and fit, five small birds out the door did flit
To fly, and learn with expertise the tricks that swallows do with ease.
When fading light let darkness boost, that family all returned to roost
To sit at ease their wings to rest and line the route beside the nest,
Where in between their birdie racket, each one did drop a small white packet.

But before the summer lost its hue, that gang of five was reduced to two.
Then one day when work was done, I checked, but counted only one.
So every night beside the nest, dressed only in his coat and vest,
That lonely swallow watched in vain, but no small friends came back again.
Now winter was approaching fast, the time to leave had come at last
One fine morn’ when he flew out, he joined his flock and headed south
With no farewell, away he went and left me, owing three months rent.