I’ve been a little unwell lately, but I don’t want to miss Poetry Friday entirely. Here’s my contribution, better late than never.
WHITE HAWTHORN IN THE WEST OF IRELAND
by Eavan Boland
I drove West
in the season between seasons.
I left behind suburban gardens.
Lawnmowers. Small talk.
Under low skies, past splashes of coltsfoot,
the hard shyness of Atlantic light
and the superstitious aura of hawthorn.
All I wanted then was to fill my arms with
to seem from a distance, to be part of
that ivory, downhill rush. But I knew,
I had always known,
the custom was
not to touch hawthorn.
Not to bring it indoors for the sake of
such constraint would forfeit–
a child might die, perhaps, or an unexplained
fever speckle heifers. So I left it
stirring on those hills
with a fluency
only water has. And, like water, able
to redefine land. And free to seem to be–
and for travellers astray in
the unmarked lights of a May dusk–
the only language spoken in those parts.