Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

MacOdrum (Feb. 1, 2005)

It is given to them (the seal-
tribe of MacOdrum) that their
sea-longing shall be land-longing
and their land-longing shall
be sea-longing.

-- South Uist farmer

Shall I forever row
this rock which flaunts
below so brute a tail
and brogues the wind
like flukes? Standing
here do I forever
ride the wave
which answers every
shore with blue recede?
Surely I was just the next
nude nallie to lose his skin
in your embrace, doomed
thus to build his lives
ashore with the greater
half of the three hearts
pursed in your abyssal blue.
Half-man half fish
between the worlds
I weave my three
dark songs of fin
and breast and
thrall, that music
riven as the tide
which pounds these
rocky cliffs where
you are least of all.
Will you ever give
me back my skin,
that oiled black frock
which I must wear
to dive full back to
the single world,
free of doubletalk at last?
Shall I woo you or connive,
do I ravage the verses
or mount the mare I ride?
Such strategems
I dream atop this lonely
rock which is my writing
chair, reaching out as
far as I know how
to kiss the cross still
burning there, inscribed
aeons ago when love
was young and I woke
in your arms, a naked,
fresh-borne man 18 miles
out to sea with no
way ever to go home.
Your breath has
stayed in my ear
for all these lives,
like the sea inside
a shell, a shining
blue tide my song
has slowly pickled in.
Three cups, three
heavens, three purgatories
here beyond the ninth
wave you folded and
crashed over me --
a charnel house of
every thrill and thrall
to fade from blue to black.
I hear the selkies singing
on moony nights as
this an hour from
first light: I write
their sealskins down.
Inside this oratory
on high rock I
nail that strange music
to my own, a revenant
still revenant of
the blue which
drowned my bones.


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