The Skylarks of Ballycastle

O those Ballycastle skylarks of 1949,

The companions of my solitary play.

All that passion seemed so far away –

I could not ever make it mine.

Now once again I hear that song as it echoes in my brain –

Its instrumental purity –

That self-same, sad refrain

Distils essential ‘sehn sucht’ longings,

Inexpressible, sweet pain.

Are the ‘Links’ there still as springy

Neath newly-sandaled feet ?

Do the wild flowers bloom as freely ?

Does that first tangy, salt breeze still entreat ?

O tell me my skylarks’ progeny

Still sing there just as sweet.

And can we learn the meaning

Of those melodies without words ?

P’raps only in transcendence

Of a separate, self-loved heart

Is our spirit freed to worship with the larks –

Forever pouring forth their joyful, sacramental art.

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