Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, February 21, 2005

Homewarding Ride (Sat. Feb. 19, 2005)

Looking out over the cove I felt a strong
sense of the interchangeability
of land and sea in this marginal world
of the shore and of the links between
the life of the two. There was an
awareness of the past and of the
continuity of time, obliterating much
that had gone before.

-- Rachel Carson, The Edge of the Sea

This shore we share was once
a birth, then a baptism,
and later still a naked kiss:
Now it’s just a paper strand
where I walk, pen in hand,
down a mile or so of
remembered bliss, arousing
on dry acres the salt
semblance of a blue fold
and crash and hiss.
Here I remit every ache
and sorrow on the inside
that remains, a love of
wetter regions of the
heart where here, even
at this our, that greater
salt sustains. Yesterday
my mother’s poodle
died, clutched away
by a massive heart attack
on the examining table.
My mother in her grief
said she was joined at
the heart with the frail
so docile doggie who
loved to be held in
her lap. Sometimes
my mother would set
Ginger in the front basket
of her bicycle and ride
the neighborhood, an old
woman with her matron
charge triumphant in
the basket, ears flapping
in the breeze like kites.
How awful now the empty
spaces in my mother’s house --
holy too, as heart-spaces
grow cathedral in the
tidal smashings of love,
waxing for scant moments
and then draining forever
out; and then the magic
of how that absence tides
into a fullness of
the inward shore, the
grieving sands poured
slowly full with laughing
children and romping dogs
and beloveds smiling
deep and sure. That’s
the strand I walk and
weave each day, declaring
brimming hearts from
paper boats loosed
on waters deep inside.
With God and kisses
on blue rockings my
homeward songs thus ride.


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