Daragh Byrne

Daragh Byrne

Livestock Auction

My uncle, youngest of five, took on the farm.
The only boy. The only thing to do.
We’d go down in late August. He’d spin us yarns:

tall tales of all the trouble we were due
while stopping in. Callow, not knowing birds,
or the land, like he did; and trusting — all we knew

of cunning country ways came from his words.
He took us to the mart. Ego on id.
Staid old men nodding at the auctioned herds.

I swung from railings. Enough to make a bid:
he told me, smiling, that I’d bought a lamb.
I never saw it. I’m still not sure I did.

When I think of him, I think of being a man.
Craft buried in humour. He wore the weight
of it lightly. And I think of who I am —

long limbs swinging from an old farmyard gate.

Highly commended in the Westival International Poetry Prize (2020)