restricted access A Green Road in Clare
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a green road in clare The Burren Way Homesick for more than home, here, astride the sea’s genius, I long to dissolve in a limestone landscape— These terraced beds imprinted with grikes, the pillowed clints Interleaved with hollows where for eons rainwater’s Patient nibs scribed the chronicles of absence into karst, And still do, lines plumbing sidewise underground, Forming a web of secret caves like halls in a dream house I dreamed of in my parents’ house long ago. I cannot go there, but follow the tracks soft laneway out Past stile and waymarking deeper into boireann, The “Place of Rocks,” ocean’s crushed shells and skeletons formed To a horizon risen from the ancient sea. “Neither tree to hang someone, nor soil enough to bury him,” Cromwell lamented, having reached this graven edge, Though had he looked he’d have seen graves enough: tombs, raths Recalling playthings in a Land of Make Believe, Now this lost Famine village still deserted and brooding Where a surface river tumbles from the shale, Its roofless walls a thriving quarter of dens and fuchsia. My green road itself is like a path through loss Where Famine roads splintered, directionless, to nowhere, For the hungry their work a Relief without relief, While underneath me it flows on—water’s flawless love Honing the inner spaces, invisibly, constantly, So along the outer faults the barren world flourishes— Cinquefoil, silverweed, cranesbill, gentian, orchid, Saxifrage splitting the rocks’ dappled stencils of bone. Rockroses burst beside the ephemeral lakes. It’s not all death, I think, this double cemetery of earth And thought with its sunken city off the coast, With its “green hole” by the harbor the locals call Hell, And its cliffs rising from the head of the past At the spirit’s base—“Who is my father in this world?” Or my mother, Moher, Mothair, that silent “T” My central, empty cross? What was it I meant to find Here, now, nowhere, raging in the pitch-pipe wind: An answer, human, out of the sublime? To be whole again? Song mastering the wake of everything gone? You are this longing, the iron in the wish for origin. It sounds you, shapes you, water under stone. A G r e e n Road i n Cla r e ...


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Subject Headings

  • National characteristics, Irish, in literature.
  • Irish Americans in literature.
  • American poetry -- Irish American authors -- History and criticism.
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