On the old coach road,
between Ballyjamesduff and Cavan town,
there is the village of Crosskeys.
Pubs three, residents four, and a road that runs through it
crossed by another, that rises from the village green
to the nearest hill where the church was built, to be seen.
On the other side, the same road falls
through a passage in the drumlins,
until it gets lost in the black earth fields,
terminating in a rusted gate,
as all great roads ultimately do.
That is all there is; a remnant of a village.
Once a mill, and a thriving barracks,
the village is now just a curiosity item;
a jigsaw picture added, piece by piece,
each time you drive quickly through.
We stopped there one day, late in the summer,
when in the country, all is either saved or lost;
harangued by posters at every turn on the approaching roads,
we stopped to investigate the Crosskeys Harvest Festival.
First we walked the green, and discovered a small stream,
with pansies and closely cropped grass,
and a juvenile River Erne once set to work at the mill,
in a time when the young were always for hire, for a pittance.
Then the sun scuttled quickly behind the clouds,
its work of introduction completed,
and we were ushered to the pub by a dark squall,
and the threat of rain.
Moments later, the lights were turned up,
and a small timbered dance floor
was separated from the dark,
and while I supped, with rising anticipation,
a women passed in, long ski bag under arm,
and quickly erected a polished pole
of stainless steel, ratcheted expertly
between ceiling and floor.
Two youths then came, and ordered cokes;
sat whispering excitedly behind cupped and sweaty palms,
while women appeared from doors and dark
to dance the pole, just for the lark.
©Copyright Niall OConnorr