All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
It is a curious ruin we have come to see: long substantial walls all of four stories, buttressed parapets, a turret and several tall chimneys intact, home now only to small, swift Irish birds I do not recognize.
Its most recent purpose—only hours before by all the signs— a calving shed: close-cropped grass, rich cow scent, swarms of midges above hoof-marked mud and muck. Portable fence panels of welded pipe block broad gaps in broken masonry. Set well back in a shady corner, a makeshift tin roof sheltering a generous nest of yellow straw.
Someone has been at the encroaching ivy and hacked much of it away so we can see now how well five centuries of vigorous rootlets have worked their little destructions on the old manor.
My friend from Oklahoma, whose ancestral seat this is, stands for many minutes with one hand pressed against a sun-warmed corner of the impressive pile, revising her versions of history, mapping new landscapes of the world.
The day is temperate and still. In the middle distance, a neighbor’s cattle bawl. A skylark rises, his song a shrill jingling of delight.
We linger in the ancient hall until sunset. Arranged above us, ghosts of rooms, a crescent moon framed in an empty window, twelve cold hearths and no hope of fire.
Night comes on.
Landrails call from the fence rows.
In the water trough
a second new moon.
All around us, fields of ripening barley.
Contemporary Haibun Online published a version of "Coppinger Court" under the title "Coppinger Hall" (July, 2012),
Contemporary Haibun (Red Moon Press) reprinted “Coppinger Hall” in the 2013 Contemporary Haibun Anthology.
Ink, Sweat, and Tears published the current text of “Coppinger Court,” (above) in June, 2015.
Image: Coppinger's Court, Co. Cork. Ruins of 16th century fortified court near Rosscarbery, Co. Cork, Ireland.
Patricia M. Larkin. Used by permission. https://www.flickr.com/photos/smiling-irish-eyes/1366924813