A hankering in the skull, uttered and worked,

the stagger of heather beds cleaved in the throat;

Gorth and Ahabrock, and in the old stone walls

the swallows going like windborne rumours.

An ordinary night my father walking there

thought he’d heard the ghost of Norah Seer,

the border-streams swelling to the sound

of her steel crutch tapping out the hours.


Old homes and a half remembered word of mouth;

we’d prowl the lanes ourselves calling her out,

the underground all moan and winnow

with disappearing streams and passages

that swept the yellowing furze.  Unlistened for,

the roofless village a thousand times passed,

and beyond, the waning lift and turn of a gate

the fall of banked moss, and all of us listening.