Bridling The Devil’s Coach Horse – Sinéad McClure

In the shadow of the mountains
there sleeps spectacular insects
one whip of their sharp sting
may ring your breath away

They hide in the turf
slip to the damp bottom
where they feel welcome
in the slick, wet, heat.
They creep without fear
on the wetter side of the Ox
A man from West Sligo
once told me they have been known to kill.
Beware the black wasp.

A long beetle with a switch of
scorpion tail that twitches upwards
towards disturbance.

Don’t step on it, one sting could finish you off!

The cry of a man whose child has the frog’s lick
and knows about these things;
That same man showed us how to cut Lee ridges for potatoes.
Taught us how to keep ducks safe.
Took us fishing for salmon after
storm had swelled the river
the catch weak from the spawn
bouncing into his watery path.

Brought us to the Fairy Fort
that circled the bottom of his land
raised his hand
quietly shushing,
so we could hear them.

So I moved to the drier side of the Ox
started burning coal instead of turf.

Sinéad McClure is a writer, radio producer, and illustrator. She has written and co-produced 15 dramas that have aired on RTEjr Radio. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Crossways Literary Magazine, Meat for Tea—The Valley Review, Live Encounters—Poetry & Writing, Poethead, and The Ekphrastic Review. She often revisits the theme of the natural environment in her work and has a particular interest in wildlife conservation.

Image By H.-P. Widmer – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

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