Lighting the Lamp

I light a small lamp
in the room of memory
recalling places we touched,
the knowing in your eyes
and the honesty, always the honesty.
In the photographs so earnest, frightened, searing,
wondering if we could do enough for this world.
Looking back I stumble, thinking
was this world worthy of you?
Uncovering the later pictures, seeing
the ocean behind your bright white hair
I know it was, especially how you reminded us
all those years of what is real:
loving, letting go, lighting the lamp.





If I Remember You

If I remember you
it’s only in the morning
recalling root and water
before the rush,
paused like a web of lace curtain
lifted in the cool air,
open to the blue beyond.




Iron Red Arbutus

The incoming tide is raised by a northerly breeze
in flares of white across the spreading channel,
the water muted gray like autumn’s sky
with hints of light behind soaring gulls;
descent begun in rusted leaves of the nootka rose
and winter’s pull into long nights
with the mystery of dreams.
I follow the path of retreat,
pleasure in the slowing pace,
letting go like iron red arbutus
shedding bark to pale olive green,
roots extending into dark wet loam
lifting upward the knowledge of silence.





Lough Crew

The spreading sea and rolling hills are far away,
the sweeping curves of river Boyne
beneath the ancient mounds of Knowth,
below the ruins of Rathfram, the ocean
breaking on the fertile coasts of Mayo.
Kin to the wet grass and pungent cattle,
the curving roads and tiny villages,
oceans away yet I am not
for the land is with me,
not just a gravestone
but the life that flows within
soaking fields and distant mountains.
I stand upon the crest of Lough Crew,
belonging to this rich green earth
and her long-forgiving people.