Sunday, March 17, 2013

A New Dress: A Taste of Ireland

Glendalough, Ireland

—Patrick Kavanagh

Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal
Pouring redemption for me, that I do
The will of God, wallow in the habitual, the banal,
Grow with nature again as before I grew.
The bright stick trapped, the breeze adding a third
Party to the couple kissing on an old seat,
And a bird gathering materials for the nest for the Word
Eloquently new and abandoned to its delirious beat.
O unworn world enrapture me, encapture me in a web
Of fabulous grass and eternal voices by a beech,
Feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib
To pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech
For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven
From green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven.


—Thomas Kinsella

The day dawns, with scent of must and rain,
Of opened soil, dark trees, dry bedroom air.
Under the fading lamp, half dressed—my brain
Idling on some compulsive fantasy—
I towel my shaven jaw and stop, and stare,
Riveted by a dark exhausted eye,
A dry downturning mouth.
It seems again that it is time to learn,

In this untiring, crumbling place of growth

To which, for the time being, I return.

Now plainly in the mirror of my soul

I read that I have looked my last on youth

And little more; for they are not made whole

That reach the age of Christ.

Below my window the wakening trees,

Hacked clean for better bearing, stand defaced 

Suffering their brute necessities;

And how should the flesh not quail, that span for span 

Is mutilated more? In slow distaste

I fold my towel with what grace I can,

Not young, and not renewable, but man.


—Eavan Boland

After the wolves and before the elms
the bardic order ended in Ireland.

Only a few remained to continue
a dead art in a dying land:

This is a man
on the road from Youghal to Cahirmoyle.
He has no comfort, no food and no future.
He has no fire to recite his friendless measures by.
His riddles and flatteries will have no reward.
His patrons sheath their swords in Flanders and Madrid.

Reader of poems, lover of poetry—
in case you thought this was a gentle art
follow this man on a moonless night
to the wretched bed he will have to make:

The Gaelic world stretches out under a hawthorn tree
and burns in the rain. This is its home,
its last frail shelter. All of it—
Limerick, the Wild Geese and what went before—
falters into cadence before he sleeps:
He shuts his eyes. Darkness falls on it.



May the light of your soul guide you. 

May the light of your soul bless the work that you do 

with the secret love and warmth of your heart. 

May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul. 

May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light 

and renewal to those who work with you 

and to those who see and receive your work. 

May your work never weary you. 

May it release within you wellsprings of 

refreshment, inspiration and excitement. 

May you be present in what you do. 

May you never become lost in bland absences. 

May the day never burden. 

May dawn find you awake and alert, 

approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises. 

May evening find you gracious and fulfilled. 

May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected. 

May your soul calm, console and renew you.


Today's LittleNip:

—W.B. Yeats

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.