In celebration of Poetry Ireland Day and in anticipation of the much-awaited arrival of our friends, Lisa and Russ Taylor, from Connecticut, here is a poem from the Other Side of Longing that Lisa and I collaborated on and was published by Arlen House in 2011.
With the Atlantic as its central metaphor, the collaboration sets out to demonstrate how closely we are connected with all our family and dear friends on the other side of the ocean. Photo is of the stream at the end of our garden.
When the Time Comes
What of the mountain ablaze beyond our window?
Gorse, burning up the dark, so loud
we fear its crackle, hear its heat.
It spits out seeds that defy flame,
smuts of furze get washed into the stream’s source
that tumbles down, picking up along the way:
whirligigs, caddis fly larvae, turf scent
the luteus light of lesser celandine,
foxglove, that does the heart good just to look at.
It foams by the boundary of our land, so small,
yet there is nothing to stop it from thinking big
from becoming ocean when the time comes.
Rushing under the bridge to a neighbour’s field,
down through bog tannin, it carries into the lake
before it takes itself to the river that flows
around the oarsmen, past the teahouse at Menlo
under the Salmon Weir bridge,
by the cathedral that still reels in the faithful.
It catches sight of the sea, boats by the Spanish Arch,
lets go of its name, heads out into the Atlantic, reaches
your coast with the memory of mountain, gorse, fire.
From the Other Side of Longing by Geraldine Mills and Lisa Taylor, Arlen House (2011)
Distributed internationally by Syracuse University Press. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org