Night came to Reamore in November of 58
followed by Gardai, reporters and uniformed officers in galoshes.
They were searching the bogs for a missing man.
A cap was found at a stream bottom, a broken staff,
a flashlamp buried in a turnip field.
All through the mud of those relentless days
of winter weather they combed the countryside
leaving no stone unturned
When it finally dried out,
Moss Moore’s body was found strewn in a ravine,
face down in sodden clothing,
it was a tragic scene
for a gallery of onlookers
who had gathered along the edges
as investigators flashed their cameras,
you could see on their faces
a look of wonder mixed with horror
as one of their own was plucked like turf from the land.
By nightfall the rumor mill was running through Reamore,
a rural and isolated corner of County Kerry
that will be forever associated with this murder
and steeped in its infamy.
Every ravine is carved by its own history.
In every field there’s the story behind the story.
In the quiet bogs where neighbors cut peat for each other,
sometimes blood trickles amid the brooks that separate land.
Among those elements, both natural and man made, that divide people,
there is something primitive in upholding these boundaries of land.
In these layered hills of stove smoke and misty light,
sweat and pride is enclosed by stone walls
and tied like wire to the divider lines,
something men claim as their own
driven like a stake,
their own bones
running deep into the muddy ground.
It may seem nondescript,
this particularly narrow strip of preserve
but contained in it was a powerful urge,
the capacity to take another man’s life.
They say Dan Foley killed Moss Moore
that winter’s night in Reamore.
He had always maintained his innocence,
despite the obvious signs of struggle
scratched into his face,
one thing’s for sure, whoever killed Moss Moore
did so with his bare hands.
Judgement passed the lips of the locals,
demanding Foley to stand guilty,
despite the fact that they were neighbors and friends.
The men couldn’t have been more different,
Moss was small and wiry with sharp and pointed features,
a solitary man who lived alone with his two dogs.
Foley was a family man, large in stature,
square jawed with serious eyes under a flat cap.
Their dispute over land was well known in that farming community.
Their homes were divided by a ditch,
the first tragic stitch
that was lain in the absence of a divider wall
that was meant to be built but never was.
Instead, Moore constructed a makeshift fence
to keep Foley’s cows from drifting in and out,
the intention of any temporary boundary
but this one only welcomed in distrust and doubt.
Disagreement over a half-acre strip of land created a rift
and a tension arose between the men like a mist
swirling in rumor, whatever happened that night
would leave no witness.
Murder sometimes leaves a mark in the isolated dark
but few can see it,
one man’s final breath
can be squeezed from him forcefully
but not everyone can pick up the echoes
of his death throes in the rural quiet.
To be continued…