Ireland rocked. I was there for a whole week, spending the first two nights in Dublin, then going for a two night backpacking trip to an old (11th century) Christian Monastic city, and then heading up north to Belfast and Giants Causeway.
Dublin was Incredible. It was such a beautiful building, people packed city. Not claustrophobic, just friendly and full of gents in smart hats and cigarette smells. The nights were cold and clear, just like the days. Statues and ivy crawled brick were the historic foreground for a bright Irish blue sky. I did everything. Museums, Guinness, parks, writers birthplaces, beer, buildings of interest, music, Guinness. I did the Guinness brewery tour as well. And the Jameson distillery tour too. Or at least that is what I was told. Can’t really remember.
Glendalough was my vacation. A short backpacking trip to see a city of ruined churches built a thousand years where one can be in lakeside solitude, sleep under the stars, hike all day, climb some rocks and stare at tombstones…sounds like a dream for the Christian Romantic writer. It was. I sat in the graveyard for hours, wondering about the people buried there. Irelands sad religious history. The tracks of ruin. The famine. The viking invasion. Invasion after invasion. And yet evangelism characterized their countries saints. As well as social justice. It was a beautiful place to pilgrimage. And when I was there I took the liberty to sleep in some ruins. I figured St. Kevin would have wanted me to stay in his church for the night. I was almost offended nobody offered me, a traveler, a cell and some mead.
Belfast was fantastic too. I went mainly too see St. Patricks grave, an exhibition on his life, CS Lewis’ place of birth and everything associated with him, and to go up to Giants Causeway, a mysterious geographical rock feature on the northern coast. Of course my phone died before Giants Causeway and when I went to see Pat, but I got plenty of pictures of CS Lewis and things! The night I spent out was full of traditional music. Some of the best I’ve heard and in the best environment. Sadly, of the four places I went and saw live Irish folk, no young people were playing it, just listening. Still, the old Irishmen could jig and jam! Bagpipes and flutes of all sizes, banging on cow bones like spoons, goat hide drums, big fat guitars. It was incredible. It was Lord of The Rings incredible. Like swing someone around with a pint in your hand and stomp feet and sing along. Hobbit incredible.
It was a great time…and I wrote some poetry too. So you can read that now if you’d like.
The Fiddle Charm
Fingers running on the neck
Feet are stamping on the floor
The fiddle player gets you fixed
Gulping, toasting, “play some more”
Spin in circles, grope her arm
Stare into her stare
Regret the day, forget the night
Fall under the fiddle’s charm
Once the cask pours out a drought
And the lady tilts her head away
Go and stalk the foggy streets
For another bar to forget this place
Where All The Saints Are Buried
I wonder where they’ll bury me
With all the straight and narrow men
With the crooked stones of saints and priests
With the kind of saintly life I’ve lived
The one of wine and stale bread
A ritual every hour remembered to forget
I’ve made a martyr out of me
In hope that Jesus set me free
From all the spit I’ve washed his tomb with
So now I die resurrection free
Loose from chains and drunken happily
Raise your wine I am dead
Do this in remembrance of me
The Ghost of Glendalough
Twisting rivers dark as veins,
Pale branches, the bones of these,
The silent leaf that beats the air,
Roads old scars torn open here.
The miner’s path is without shadow.
Blue rock and blue tree
Holding their breath as I pass,
I cannot tell. The world is black.
The sky is cold and charred with stars.
The beacons embers cooling down,
Holes of black burned through the void,
A signal that all will flicker out.
Stalking beneath the mountain rim
The misty fogband clouds the night,
Terror seeps up from the bog
And the moon emerges in hideous light.
Shrills escape the ashen hills
From the wild horse who has seen the ghost.
He begs to be blessed and bled
A sacrifice in place for his brother’s heads.
All night I hear the neighs of death,
The wild screeches and the hope for breath,
But the open veins flow till’ morning.
If God’s a Ghost he isn’t holy.
A Poem For Shel Silverstein
“Thank you for teaching me that where the sidewalk ends the adventure begins”
Where the sidewalk ends
The adventure begins.
Where the parking lot stops,
And the stone turns to sand
The sand turns to shore,
Teasing your feet with its tide,
Calling you come in to your shins,
Foaming you forward
Above the line of your waist.
The waves and their power
Push you away, but
Here, where the sidewalk ends
Your feet are unfixed,
The ocean is pathless,
Or all path, all the way
To the horizon that is
Blue blend of blue sky, blue sea.
To Behold Beauty Alone
To behold beauty, alone, alone?
The dream cloud headed poets goal.
But needless say how many try,
How many innocent red roses die.
How many metaphors stand to fail,
How many lovers grow old and pale.
To hold beauty alone is to glimpse the air,
For beauty is sorrow unless she’s shared.
I got these kisses from your heart,
So they won’t expire right away.
They’ll still taste as desperate-fresh
As we did on that cold winter day.
When Patrick Duffey died
His lovely wife kept on living.
She couldn’t just stand and wait
For her young bones to disintegrate.
Twenty-nine years Mrs. Duffey cried
Out to the grave where her husband lied,
Awaiting the day when she just might
Sleep next to him for one more night.
The years passed slow.
The house got cleaned.
Her love outgrew
All his dusty things.
And the widow Mrs. Duffey
Once full of glittered eyes,
Changed white and bitter,
begged for herself— death
And for her husband—life.
I welcome your comments!