Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, January 31, 2005

The House of Donn (Jan. 30, 2005)

This high rock beyond
the ninth wave off Ireland
is where the Head of Donn
dreams for all time,
interned there so
the Sons of Mil could
take possession
of green love
in the deeper half
of my heart. In the
Christian age which
wrote over that old
myth, it was said
that souls of the
dead were sent there
and chaffed, the
damned blessing Donn
from the height of
Skellig before being
pitched into abyss,
while the saved
viewed that rock from
aloft as they were
carried by angels
to high heaven.
Michael’s rock indeed
if Skellig’s Michael
is to be believed,
a door for all dead
souls beyond which
all kissed the cross
of their fated fires.
How is it then
that you bid me live
here, Lord of
dazzling dark seas,
forever offshore the
beloved embrace,
tending the terrible
paths where souls
and penitents wind
and writhe? What music
charms these cliffs
with such blue
and cold delight? Far
and strange indeed
though I’m still in my
white writing chair
as dawn starts to limn
the night with its
seethe of polar blue,
ten minutes from
feeding all the cats
outside & then heading
up to wake my love
to our Sunday. How
did all those worlds
come to marry here on
the lip of a page and
its past, a shore where
ghostly numens walk
and tides curve breasts
and smash all bones?
Who would guess such
a place exists just
outside this house
of love, just over
the marge of our
beyond the garden
but before the day’s
news and labors
and leakage? A
shore translated from
my father at 78
fading among his stones
and my mother fading,
like an ink, from all
the scriptures she keeps
writing down while
behind the words I write?
A shore where Melville
at age 37 was already
finished by
his great work &
falling into the mouth
of his great words
never quite to return.
Where Rilke walks
the grounds of Muzot
with his Elegies full
smashed and ebbed,
a gaunt and tired man,
bearing not a trace of his
words -- loves all
failed, his daughter
Ruth estranged, disease
blooming in the blood.
House of Donn indeed,
this rock breaking far
millennia into the sea,
remnant of a shore
fallen miles back out
of sight. The only poem
worth writing, the only
one you still invite
dreaming in that bed
a thousand leagues below
where Michael's in his boat
ferrying it all back home.


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