Poem of the Week 6/12/18
The Third Day
(for Neil and Blair)
Tipperary is inland a bit, off the beaten track
Of the tourbas, that ancient Gaelic word.
West of Thurles a few miles there are no cars,
No houses, no telephone poles, no sign of man
But the road. We stopped for our bearings,
And I smelled a flavor I never had before—
The absence of any trace of humans.
If I had to guess, I’d say that air
Was the same as it was on the third day,
When the land was separated from the water.
There was a hall of trees, and wide brushes of green
Squeezed from the greenest tube in the palette.
The green ran up a hill to a meadow above.
Ireland is full of flowers. It rains most of the time,
And there are long lawns of land they never use.
There was a sun that day like the one on your finer days.
We couldn’t find the place we’re from.
A woman walked by with a pram,
Eva and her fussing son Conor.
“Oh, you’re heading in the wrong direction entirely!” she said.
Eventually, we found the spot, in a ruined church,
Sat on the groundstone my ancestors are buried under.
Hundreds of years beneath a common stone,
But they were not thrown in willy nilly.
Each was in his place. Each was in her place.
I’m thinking my asthma would do well
In that spot west of Thurles, if I could find it again.
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