The Horse Under the Hearth

Scríobh Doireann Ní Ghríofa an dán seo mar gheall ar Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill i ndiaidh d’Art. Díríonn sí isteach ar an gcapall agus mar atá sa bhéaloideas gur thug Baldwin an capall achrannach do Abraham Morris i ndiaidh d’Art bás d’fháil. Ghoid Eibhlín Dubh an capall ar ais agus maraíodh é agus cuireadh a cheann fé bhun lice an tinteáin i dTigh Ráth Laoich. Samhlaíonn Ní Ghríofa Eibhlín agus í ag rince ar an leac os cionn ceann an chapaill ag cuimhneamh siar ar an uair scannrúil sin go rabhadar ar tóir a céile i gCarraig an Fheartáin. Scéal an chaointe le fáil anseo.

Quiet now, his stables. No clatter-hoof on the cobbles.
That morning: her saddle bloody, askew, and she
all stumble-legged, froth-flecked, nostril-blaze, trailing reins.

When her eyes found mine, I knew.

I took three leaps: the first over the threshold, the second
to the gate, the third to her back, then fast gallop
over boreen and trampled brambles to his spilled blood.

Everyone knows what happened then, I versed it strong
and spoke it often. But what of her?
Her neck, like mine, knew the rough stubble of his cheek.
I couldn’t leave her with them. I sent them out, his men.

And so, her head came back, in a wet sack that leaked in my lap
and reddened my skirts. I pulled the burlap back, looked
Into her eyes – sunken, unseeing –
Her ear torn, a delicate nostril crushed.

sighed when the hearthstone was pried away.
The fire and I watched as they dug. No one spoke.
I rolled her head into the hole, watched them
shelter her in dirt and stone.

Now, when I watch flames consume wood, I think of her
slow change from muscle and mane to bone and dirt.
When the house grows too quiet, I stand on that hearthstone
and dance. Each ankle tap, each heel rap brings me back

to those fast moments before
we found him, and again, it is only
us two, and we are galloping
and galloping and never reaching him.