The Irish in America

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A Day in the Bog

Another lovely poem from Seamus Hora: “Just a few memories of a day in the bog…”

A Day in the Bog

The scent of the bacon
From the cast iron pan,
The sweetest of tea
Brewed in the sweet can.

The tiny skylark
Without effort he flew
Soaring and soaring
Disappearing from view.

The hare with ears pricked
Observing the scene,
The corncrake call
From meadows so green.

The curlew cried out
In so many ways;
Indication of weather
For upcoming days

The pealing of church bells
Announced the midday,
Far distant whistle
Said trains on the way.

Just a few memories
Of a day in the bog;
Yes those were the sweetest
The rest was a slog.

Seamus Hora

About the poet…

Seamus Hora was born in Gorthaganny, County Roscommon. He has been employed by same company, Delaneys Ltd in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, for 44 years. He has lived in Ballyhaunis for over 20 years. Seamus is married to Rosaleen and the couple has one daughter, Sandra. Seamus only recently started to write poetry. and he bases his poems on his life experience. He values feedback and would like to hear what people think of his poem…just leave a comment!

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DAY 4: Bogs

My knowledge of bogs is very limited, but that hasn’t stopped me from being fascinated with bogs and the things that come out of them. Especially bog bodies. Creepy to some, but I think the ancient, deeply tanned body parts discovered by farmers and turf-cutters – just going about their business – are just the coolest. Bog bodies are the main reason bogs are one of my favorite things about Ireland.

Bogs are everywhere in Ireland, covering one-sixth of the island. When I am in Ireland I often hear people talking about the bog. I know people aren’t regularly coming across bog bodies like these, but I wonder what it would be like to know that at any time you might uncover an ancient body. There are many reasons why I would make a poor turf-cutter, chief of which is that I would never get around to cutting any turf. I would think every twig could be a leathery finger or toe, and each plant root a strand of hair connected to a severed, flattened head.  

Bogs are mysterious and spooky. In 2011, we were visiting family in County Laois and the quickest way back to where we were staying was to take the bog road. There was a lot of talk that week about whether to send the Americans back to their self-catering via the bog road. There was also something about the Green Man on the bog road. It all was a bit complicated – you had to turn off your car and your lights, get out and lay on the road (or something) for a chance to see the Green Man. The road was straight, but extremely narrow and it was super dark and foggy at night. With bog on either side of the road, there was little room for driving error. You might end up as a bog body of the future.

Of course, it isn’t only bodies that they find in bogs…they also find ancient artifacts like bowls, jewelry, tools, and even butter!