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The Anchorage

By BERNARD O'DONOGHUE



One morning in the hot summer of ‘59

We watched through binoculars a black cloud

Of smoke on the skyline. Someone suggested

It must be furze being burned on the banks

Of the railway-line. But word spread

That it was Bill Casey’s barn, new-packed

With this year’s hay. We all went to see it,

And smelled the dead smell of burning.

Casey kicked ruefully at the iron staple

In the wall which the dog had been chained to.

All the farmers in the parish rallied round;

The next Sunday a long cortege of horse-floats

Made their slow way along the dusty road

To Ardnageeha to repair the loss.

But what good was that? The barn’s dark pillars

Did not lighten, and when you closed your eyes

What you saw was the invisible

Last hours of the desperate, leaping dog.