Look, We Have Come This Far
There was little we packed for this journey:
a fox’s promise, the blue of a heron’s egg,
bed ends from a skip on Northbrook Road
so full of woodworm we had to throw them back.
Me riding backwards on the motorbike
as we went up through the Sally Gap,
the curve of the Dublin mountains
holding its place on my lap.
Winters when pipes burst and snow lay
indolent on path and rooftops,
we sat before a fierce fire, weaving baskets
while cane suppled in the basin beside us.
You asleep on the last seat of the bus,
I wishing you would wake
so that you could see it too,
the sun burning up the fog at Delphi.
We didn’t pack for the children
we gave each other,
one with the language of your bones
the other with the thin of my skin,
my journey west with them to wait for you
to someday follow on. When you did,
you had nothing but the shape of my horizon
on which to lay your head.
Look, how we’ve come the other side of children.
Today as if there were no tomorrow left to us,
you calm me in the way clapped cymbals soothe
the swarming bees. Closer than breathing, we hold.
from An Urgency of Stars, Arlen House, 2010)