bardachd: (Default)
An Lon Dubh

Int én bec
ro léic feit
do rind guip
glanbuidi;
fo-cheird faíd
os Loch Laíg
lon do chraíb
charnbuidi.


Blackbird at Belfast Lough

The wee bird
has let out a whistle
from the point of a beak
bright yellow;
it sends out a call
above Loch Laig
a blackbird from a branch
yellow-heaped
bardachd: (Default)
You read the old Irish poet and complain
I do not offer you impossible things -
Gloves of bees fur, cap of wren's wings,
Goblets so clear light falls on them like a stain.
I make you the harder offer of all I can,
The good and ill that make of me this man.

I need no fancy to mark you as beautiful,
If you are beautiful. All I know is what
Darkens and brightens the sad waste of my thought
Is what makes me your wild, truth-telling fool
Who will not spoil your power by adding one
Vainglorious image to all we've said and done.

Flowers need no fantasy, stones need no dream:
And you are flower and stone. And I compel
Myself to be no more than possible,
Offering nothing that might one day seem
A measure of your failure to be true
To the greedy vanity that disfigures you.

A cloak of the finest silk in Scotland - what
Has that to do with troubled nights and days
Of sorry happiness? I had no praise
Even of your kindness, that was not bought
At such a price this bankrupt self is all
I have to give. And is that impossible?
bardachd: (Default)
Fishermen at Ballyshannon
Netted an infant last night
Along with the salmon.
An illegitimate spawning,

A small one thrown back
To the waters. But I'm sure
As she stood in the shallows
Ducking him tenderly

Till the frozen knobs of her wrists
Were dead as the gravel,
He was a minnow with hooks
Tearing her open.

She waded in under
The sign of the cross.
He was hauled in with the fish.
Now limbo will be

A cold glitter of souls
Through some far briny zone.
Even Christ's palms, unhealed,
Smart and cannot fish there.
bardachd: (Default)
And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.
bardachd: (Default)
Trying to open locked doors with a sword, threading
the points of needles, planting shade trees
upside down; swallowed by the opaqueness of one whom the seas

love better than they love you, Ireland--

you have lived and lived on every kind of shortage.
You have been compelled by hags to spin
gold thread from straw and have heard men say:
"There is a feminine temperament in direct contrast to ours,

which makes her do these things. Circumscribed by a
heritage of blindness and native
incompetence, she will become wise and will be forced to give in.
Compelled by experience, she will turn back;

water seeks its own level":
and you have smiled. "Water in motion is far
from level." You have seen it, when obstacles happened to bar
the path, rise automatically.

~Marianne Moore

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