Irish people in England travel back to Ireland by ferry every summer. As you drive west through Wales, it gets more like Ireland as you go.

Westering Home

Though you’d be pressed to say exactly where
It first sets in, driving west through Wales
Things start to feel like Ireland. It can’t be
The chapels with their clear grey windows,

Or the buzzards menacing the scooped valleys.
In April, have the blurred blackthorn hedges

Something to do with it? Or possibly
The motorway, which seems to lose its nerve
Mile by mile. The houses, up to a point,

With their masoned gables, each upper window
A raised eyebrow. More, though, than all of this,
It’s the architecture of the spirit;
The old thin ache you thought that you’d forgotten –

More smoke, admittedly, than flame;
Less tears than rain. And the whole business
Neither here nor there, and therefore home.

from Here Nor There (Chatto & Windus 1999), © Bernard O’Donoghue 1999, used by permission of the author.

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