I find myself, in these days when the world is all topsy-turvy, turning to poetry, both reading and writing.
Words from Yeats’ poem The White Birds have been running through my mind:
“I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a
Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow
Come near us no more.”
And when hope is most needed, Seamus Heaney’s poem The Cure at Troy is always there:
“So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a farther shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.”
On the hill above our house there is a healing well. Perhaps we’ll take a walk up there.
Here is what I’ve been writing:
Two Days Past St. Brigid’s Day
I back against the ditch seeking
Shelter from the sudden squall.
Hail whitens my shoulders
Like an old woman’s shawl.
A primrose hides in the brambles
Beside me, searching for the sun.
Together we watch the snow fall
On Brandon Mountain across the way.
Micheál, who lives on the hill above us,
Says Brigid’s day marks the start of spring.
“But the primrose truly knows.
When she appears, the weather turns.”
The squall passes. I nod goodbye
To my flowered friend
And walk down the lane
To the shore and the sun.
The primrose knows.
Three donkeys live down the lane
In the field beyond the trees.
They gather at the gate
To pass their life of ease.
No trap to pull nor creel to carry,
Their working lives are done.
They nibble at the grass
And catch the warming sun.
We stop and nod and have a word
And share philosophies,
Then wander down the lane
Leading our life of ease.
On Buying a Portrait of Beckett
He glares at me across the room
Straining against the hard black frame.
The sacramental scent of artists’ oil surrounds him.
Cheeks and brow, nose and jutting jaw
And hair as wild as his thoughts
Are sculpted with a palette knife
In tones of black and grey.
Cold, calculating, captured.
He knows he is the genius.
His glare says all of that.
Ideas, in fuchsia and iris, explode around his head
Seeking an escape.
He stares at me and I return his gaze.
In silence we wait for the messenger.
May we all let our minds wander and find our healing wells.