It’s said that they sleep in the darkest parts
of the country, the forests and glens
in the eastern shadows; caves by the coast;
in gorse thickets, windbreaks of whitethorn.
That they move in the night, strike after thaw.
That a wee bairn found eggshells on the beach,
rigged with sails of leaf and twiglet oars.
That we implemented curfew after that:
each night we get the cattle in, the children,
send the fastest boys to man their posts.
And yet in all these years, using the charts
of forefathers, the hazel and the horn,
we’ve not seen much beyond the blackened cat,
the blinded birds, the diseased copper beech.
From ‘The Annals of Antrim’, published in Dear World & Everyone in It: New Poetry in the UK (Bloodaxe, 2013)