CEAD MILE FAILTE 


Country roads wind

where shadows linger in the light,

where whispers have withered

like leaves out of season, 

where the green grows in grandeur 

over this ancient land, often fought for,

never forgotten, where

former footprints entwine

around the rolling hills

and half fallen walls of wishes

that once held lovers,

that once courted kisses 

by knotted trees where dreams 

took root, when getting away 

from the grass long grown 

was the latest calling 

after Ireland’s rugged rising 

and falling, a nation whose 

conservation of caustic comedy 

is more ingrained than the moss 

that bursts through the cobbled 

stones of home. Country roads wind 

as cars chase onwards like time

ticks behind us and we wonder 

how far we can go, frightened 

we may never make it back, 

but we are made of movement 

seeds sewn and struggling to be seen;

centre stage, mid field, along 

the midway as I pass a clutter 

of cattle slowed by a stretch of sun 

as bleak days blow over, 

are brushed back from the smothered 

south, the light now returning 

after Ophelia’s brief calling; 

the maiden no longer ‘Sweet 

for the sweet’ but distress 

was still caught in her caress. 

Country roads wander now, 

ever onwards, through these 

humble hills and varied valleys, 

like the trenches time tracks

on our skin; growing up, 

going out, getting old,

these tosses and tumbles like life, 

like this light, like the path we pave, 

sometimes on starved soil, sometimes over 

fields of fortune, always the shadow

cast on the current of the light,

always the twist and turn;

but the brook bends to bare the bother, 

always the steady stream; the tear 

to wash across the laughter,

always the leaf at the will of the wind;

the question of where I am going, 

always the path we’ve already plodded;

the memory of where we have been. 

Country roads wind around 

a hundred million echoes

of a hundred thousand dreams

in the land of a hundred thousand 

welcomes.




All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly 

All photographs taken this weekend in Lusk, Country Dublin, Ireland

CEAD MILE FAILTE is the Irish greeting meaning a hundred thousand welcomes in Gaelic. 

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