Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, February 07, 2005

Tall Tale (Feb. 5, 2005)

The hermit described in Episode
19 of the Immram Mael Duin ...
is clothed in his own hair (and)
lives on a small island. Many trees
grow there, and each tree is full of
birds. He tells Mael Duin and his
company that, having set on a
pilgrimage from Ireland, his
small boat split in two under him.
He returned to the coast, positioned
himself on a sod and on this
piece of turf set out into the
waves again. God allowed the sod
to remain motionless in the
place where he now is, and adds
some turf to the sod each year,
as well as a tree. The birds in
the trees are the souls of his
relatives, who await Doomsday there.

-- Clara Strijbosch, The Seafaring Saint

I set out in my little boat so many years ago,
my heart full of its quest for you
like a wave dreaming distant shores,
full and high and curved close to crash.
Yet God willed my ways otherwise,
splitting my purpose on black rocks below
and delving me back to home shores,
a spluttering, half-ruined man, one for whom
the sea became both longing and its cross.
The bit of strand I settled on became both chapel
and isle, its walls of pale cocquina faith brilliant
by day. But the hull below is not seen by any,
its mast my spine, its sails woven from
gossamering dreams of finding you
and not. My course is a wild immrama
of blue words, mouthed from this pew where
the sound of the uniting surf is never far.
Years now I've remained here to voyage far
beyond the beds I never found you in, clothed
only in my hair & this patch of pale sand
the very fabric of my white writing chair.
Blue is everywhere my mind's eye now navigates,
as if you were looking back over your shoulder
when you left the room for good. How can a song
be both choir and quest I'll never know, but
mine is just to altar that surf here, writing
down all that love still distantly yet urgently
demands. My poems are like the lover's hands
dressing a with the greatest of haste, grooming
something in the mirror and hurrying on out
to find and woo a destiny before the night
is forever hence too late. Far I have travelled
on the same soul-remitting sea, always
lost and ever charmed by the strange music
just ahead of the next swell, just before the
the spill of light which foams and forms the day --
sounds which ink this pen and rudder
its travail down and down to the last line
which buttons to a kiss -- an island of a singular
desire torn from the bridal doom of Ys.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Hit Counter
Internet Service Provider