Blight

He surveyed his domain from the hillock behind his family’s one-room, thatched cottage. The landlord’s domain to be precise, but for the four generations preceding this year of Our Lord, 1845, his forefathers had paid the rent that made it theirs to call home. All three acres and only half of it rock and stone.

He pulled his knit cap down to shelter his immaturely balding pate against the mountain wind and focused his steady grey eyes on the troop of Redcoats on the shore road far below. He released his breath when he realised they would not bother the family today.

He set off to the potato patch, his smock flapping noisily in the wind, his legs kept dry from the mist by coarse leggings. His bare feet found purchase on clod and stone with a dexterity that told of familiarity with the exercise. He moved neither quickly nor slowly, just with the efficiency required by the task in relation to the sinking sun. Continue reading

On the Shannon

Early winter evening. An orange sun was about to meld with the horizon. Suspended so, it reflected on the entire width of the broad estuary, its colour diluted to yellow. The fog from my breath feigned a resembling hue.

A swan burst from the reeds and cracked the chill air with the heavy draught from its massive wings. The sound decreased as it became a silhouette across the face of the orange orb. There were water sounds too, gurgling’s and lapping’s. There was the sound of air heaving into my lungs.

Cox bellowed, “Forward,” and our seats slid on their tracks to the position that mirrored his command. Bodies froze with knees against chest, our eight feathered oars maintaining equilibrium as the perfectly balanced, pencil-slim craft sat poised. Continue reading