‘ The word for a ‘province’ in Irish is ‘fifth’.
The fifth one : Meath or ‘middle’ place,
is secret : a drawer, or priest-hole,
a sliding door oiled into space
rock-faced , as in sheer of cliff.
‘We’ll find them’, callow children laughed
on mid-term breaks
in plastic macs.
‘Don’t drive. We’ll walk.’
They held a compass : North, North-West
and tied a thread to leave a trail.
We found one body in a field
metal-detected teeth through lime
walking-shoes out on a ledge.
One child survived. Now ninety-nine
one plain, one purl, hand-knitted
time of sorrow. For
‘Wherever you walk in Ireland
you reach the edge.’
by Mark Patrick Hederman