Along the Cliffs of Moher

A poem   and photograph from my latest book,  Ireland, Place out of Time (2017).   Order your copy here.

A poem and photograph from my latest book, Ireland, Place out of Time (2017). Order your copy here.

Along the Cliffs of Moher

Rockface sheer and imposing, rises
from the sea, reminding us
nature makes no allowances

Not here along the Wild Atlantic Coast—
barely tamed, it provokes longing
both distant and deep

I step to the edge,
glance down
to the rocks and surge below

Some faint ancient song
of loss and regret rises
with the tides

 

A Poem for the New Year

Liberty

 

buttermilk scones, hot and dry

fruit compote of raspberry

and peach

 

NPR’s soft jazz sings

me through dawn’s edge

 

at the kitchen table I look out to the orchard

that bears

the breath of sweetness

 

out onto the grasses beyond

where moles till the ground

in spring

 

when it seems the days

will never

grow short and dark

 

when my company will be more

than imagined

homecomings

 

with hot scones, warm jam,

and Darjeeling

you sent from India

The Feather in the Cellar

The Feather in the Cellar

In the clapboard house, the cellar

the laundry and shelves of canned goods

where once my mother wept, soft as a feather

 

Alone upon her tiny chair of wood

her face a sadness I could not touch

the laundry and shelves of canned goods

 

So solitary, the chair she clutched

tears washed her cheeks, stained her cotton blouse

her face a sadness I could not touch

 

I stood upon the stair in the house

What could I do? I could be good

tears washed her cheeks, stained her cotton blouse

 

Hidden, so small, a child who couldn’t

fix it, watching her among the dirty clothes

What could I do? I could be good

 

I knew no words to utter

in the clapboard house, the cellar

sitting among the dirty clothes, the clutter

where once my mother wept, soft as a feather

 

(Published in Prime Number magazine online, August 2012)

A Poem for Today - Daughter/Mother

In the orchard, beyond the creek

broken tree limbs strewn

the clouds danced above

white light from your fingers

daughter, do not cry

after during now never

memories not remembered

a coffin of memory buried

in desire, a lost child

sometimes there is hope

 

In the voice, beyond the creek

blue tree limbs strewn

the river danced above

white silence from your fingers

mother, do not cry

until now during after

memories not singing

a window of distance buried

in grief, a lost child

there is always hope

Lyric from a Dana Gioia Poem

 

 

This final stanza in Dana Gioia's poem "The Lost Garden" really spoke to me this morning. What a beautiful lyric.

 

The trick is making memory a blessing,

 
To learn by loss the cool subtraction of desire,

Of wanting nothing more than what has been,

To know the past forever lost, yet seeing

Behind the wall a garden still in blossom.

(From his collection Interrogations at Noon, Graywolf Press, 2001.)