Alice of Daphne, 1799


I am Alice of Daphne, and my heart clogs for John Pounden.
As the stag cornered by pitch-forks, so antlered his thought against the Croppies.
As the Jonathan amongst scented trees of the orchard, so rose my sweet back in
      Daphne. I knew a tender spot down under his branches, basked long among his
      juicy apples.
He rushed me the road to Enniscorthy. I was far gone, awkward with our living:
Bed me with slovens, madden me with fiddles, I grow big now, sick for Daphne.
His trunk leant gently onto mine, for I was fourteen years of age.

                        *                        *                        *

And I said, Never, Never shall we be torn asunder or cut off from petalled Daphne,
      though our green hills crawl black with Croppies like flies, for I will not unloose
      that daft chase wreathing our laurels up the sloped white blossoms.
I grafted and shall graft, Jonathan, my virgin bones to yours.
McGuire, good tenant, coffined you when we stank Enniscorthy where Croppies
      piked the brave Orange.

John was twenty-one under the fruiting tree. I played the skittery dove after his
      apples.
Look, my lovelies, the mason plumbs our Wall! You can walk by the Slaney!
Crocus open on the Spring Lawn. On Vinegar Hill Providence stooped and smiled
      and picked but a few of the Croppies.
The Black Prince plum blooms early this March for my dears, Mary, John Colley,
      Jane, Patrick, Fanny.
But poor baby Joshua is down with the fits.


John Ennis, Selected Poems, Dedalus Press, 1997.