The School Bag




Field Day

W.R. Rogers

The old farmer, nearing death, asked
To be carried outside and set down
Where he could see a certain field
''And then I will cry my heart out,'' he said.

It troubles me, thinking about that man;
What shape was the field of his crying
In Donegal?

I remember a small field in Down, a field
Within fields, shaped like a triangle.
I could have stood there and looked at it
All day long.

And I remember crossing the frontier between
France and Spain at a forbidden point, and seeing
A small triangular field in Spain,
And stopping.

Or walking in Ireland down any rutted by-road
To where it hit the highway, there was always
At this turning-point an abutment
A still centre, a V-shape of grass
Untouched by cornering traffic,
Where country lands larked at night.

I think I know what the shape of the field was
That made the old man weep.  

1971