Smithereens Press Chapbooks SP14 - The Lighthouses by Daragh Breen - Page 18

Cows were brought out to these small islands one by one, knocked over first on the beach, hooves bound and tilted into the bottom of the currachs, the men straining on their oars as they manoeuvred through the waves with these cargoes of meat screaming on their backs. One island moved their new bull out to an isolated islet rock and listened to his groaning all through the night. His silhouette could be seen in the shadow-void of lightning, and then just as quickly fainting back into the pursuing thunder’s darkening hail. At dawn they woke to witness the bull stumbling ashore on the strand, seaweed dripping from him, having swum the narrow sound. One of the Blasket Islands’ best known airs, ‘Port na bPúcai’, was borrowed from a lovelorn male humpback whale singing beneath a currach. 14