Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stella's Cottage

Stella’s cottage

Smothered in autumn now

Its shrunken walls still fighting off the fields

As youngsters we used to sack potatoes there

On damp days under the tinder dry thatch

Hunkered and cramped

As we rummaged among the gaunt growths

For pinks and banners

And the odd golden wonder

Rubbing shoulders with the riff raff

And where’tis said

Forbidden fruit once flourished

And angels strayed in from the straight and narrow

We slung poreens through the rough door

Without as much as a thought for the ghost

That stood on the step

Stella’s cottage

Struggling with September

What ghost stands there now?

My sack is full, youth

A crumpled pile in the corner

The thatch has given way

To bramble, sprig and sky

And by the rough door wild potatoes pose

For puzzled passers by

So what ghost stands there now?

What spirit lurks

In this skipful of briars by the roadside

Above is a poem that I wrote about the famous cottage belonging to Stella ( Esther ) Johnson

A frequent visitor to the cottage Dean Jonathon Swift was a friend of Miss Johnson

After an unsuccessful attempt to restore the cottage in the 1960s it was then allowed to become a ruin.

Stella lived there around 1710 only vacating it when she bought a larger house in the nearby town of Trim

I Include these notes and poem in response to a request from Trim Paddy Byrne.

The poem itself was a prize winner in The Allingham Arts competition

Further information on Sella's Cottage may be found in a book of that name which i wrote some years ago and is now available in the libraries

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