A UFO landed in Ireland in ’54,
in Donegal, in my back garden.
At the controls was my grandfather,
and not wanting his craft to be seen,
he had a house built around it,
or he added bricks to the turfhouse
till his spaceship had a coat
and no earthly visitor could guess
that alien splendour was there.
I was two when it landed
but I can just about remember.
I can hear the noise it made –
a humming that scared me,
as if it might take off again,
scattering bricks everywhere,
taking my grandfather away,
but he walked into the house
and switched the lights on –
no need for paraffin and matches,
just a bulb hanging there
like our own small moon,
and this was repeated in every room,
and a copper kettle boiled
away from the fire,
and my grandfather took me
out to the turfhouse
to see the thing being fed,
but I closed my eyes
stuck my fingers in my ears,
and cried.

from Sanctuary (Cape, 2004), © Matthew Sweeney, 2004, used by permission of the author and The Random House Group Ltd.

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