Original : The rhyme form is from summer, 1950, the material is from lines I wrote in a school notebook earlier, when I was about 15 or 16, in 1944 or 45, before I sold my bike to 'Moose' Marion, center on a local football team, the Hawks. Place: Bowne Park in Flushing, Queens, which was named after John Bowne, an early Quaker.
I rode my bike to see the little park
Where I had sailed my boat when I was small.
And there among the trunks of rough grey bark
I saw an iron lantern on a pole.
So new here, where the Indians used to walk
But old, I thought of Europe long ago.
Its color black against the leaves of green.
A house for light, with windows and a roof.
I looked so long I wondered what my look could mean.
Ar rothar chuig an pháirc a chuaigh mé
Ar sheol mé báid inti mar bhuachaillín.
I lár na gcrainnte lena gcraiceann léith
Bhí 1óchrann iarainn ann ar chuaille ard.
Nuanósach é, i dtír an mhocaisín
Sean‑nósach áfach, insan Eoraip thart.
A dhathsa dubh in aghaidh na nduilleog glas.
Teach solais é, le fuinneoga is díon.
Ni fios dom, iar mo mhoill, cén chiall a bhainfinn as.
Raymond J. Clarke
Réamonn Ó Cléirigh
Version in Irish 11 November, 2004.
Comment: This could be the earliest example of a second type of 'poem' I began to write. I call them 'impressions'. In the other type it was as if I was writing to a reader ( though I never showed them to people) and I would make a point, or draw a conclusion. Here, I was writing to myself and I didn't have any point or conclusion to make. It came about by necessity in this case because the lines in my old note book were incomplete, but at some point later, I realized I didn't have to tell a complete story every time I wrote a poem. I enjoyed 'capturing' the random thoughts or feelings I had in a place within the structure of a 'poem'. I was just saving or recording a few moments of my existence, and I think a lot of people who write poems do that for themselves.
As I look at these lines, I see two things that I frequently thought of when I was a boy ‑‑‑ trees and 'Indians', who I always associated with the woods. They weren't the Indians out West I saw in the movies, but the ones I knew about who once lived on the north shore of Long Island in their wigwams. They were the Delawares. I often would hike over, by myself or with my dog, to the very old woods behind Fort Totten and I could almost see them in there, stalking game in their happy hunting grounds.
I often took note in passing of wrought‑iron fences, gates, and decorations too, The mystery here of why I delayed so long looking at the iron lantern may have been solved if I had remembered that when I was about ten, or younger, my father told me that Ins father and grandfather worked m the wrought‑iron and blacksmith trades. But I had forgotten that, and only remembered it years later.