I know a few of you will remember these pieces, but I thought they were worth reposting because they reflect my experience of Ireland. Both were written on trips I made to Southern Ireland in the 1980’s. (There are also some allusions to a couple of traditional Irish folksongs…curious if anyone knows what they are) The ‘Iris’ painting was actually never quite finished. I decided to leave it so.
I traveled there a woman
and came back a child
with my eyes full of the clouds
coming over the mountains
so I could never tell
how high they were;
the rivers going on
floating down to the sea,
the fuchsias so wild,
but not really.
All along the way
where meadows survived
and milkmaids didn’t mind
as suddenly gone.
The fields were greener than any
through the glass of our visit
going down to the sea,
only my heart brave enough
to go on
into the waves,
a lonesome boatman calling me
to come live with him
This time the blackberries were ripening, seed pods cracking, rose hips shining in the sun blowing in and out of the sky. There was honeysuckle in the hedges, like the bloom in our cheeks as we rode along. And in the gorse and heather, again and at last. The moss was a carpet laid for our steps through a wood-and-wonder-land, dark oak, grey ash (red-berried too), silver birch and airy fern. And bluebells imagined, like a strawberry tree. Elsewhere there were mushrooms, surprising us like rabbits. While jackdaws were expected at the end of a shorter day, a silent peat fire making the night and reason we were together familiar.
We lived day to day; what else was there to do? Waking to the rain that misted our view. Though it was something to see the crows claiming a chimney. To warm their hearts? Or dry their wings? By the time we ate our pink bacon the mountains were rising again. So we took to the road that still sounded wet, passing the jaunters as they passed us sympathizing or gloating as we walked up another hill. Sometimes we abandoned our wheels for the slowness of our step. To stray. Even from each other. And meet like the waters where time stood. But not too still, the water boatmen as busy as we weren’t, a fat robin flirting nearer and nearer until flying away, the light always changing.
So much time. To do nothing. But eat cream cakes and salads and sandwiches. And look at the mountains surrounding us more noticeably than the sea. It seemed all the same, being in love with each other and the place; at the end of the day going the same way as the jaunters who couldn’t see us either as we climbed gates and crossed fields, trespassing where we felt welcome.
And as a bonus, from St. Patrick’s ‘Breastplate’ Prayer:
I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.