you felt blessed if it didnt go beyond that
during our horse holiday in Ireland,
the sky keeping silvery bright
and the needle-drops seeming to dry off
in the wind just before reaching your coat.
But that morning at Cavan Garden
heavy real rain seemed the only promise,
swollen dark pewter clouds filled the air
while we were busy getting ready, silent
among saddle-bags, straps, bridles, horse food
and flies in a thick bunch swarming.
Dark air, dark mood, it didnt seem a good start,
the world through my specs a brittle canvas,
a pointillist blur.
Your horses girth seemed shorter than on other mornings,
it couldnt get closed and the drops
were becoming harder and more steady;
I walked the horse in the rains growing roar
then I tried again, no way, you couldnt get
to that longed for first hole. We were stuck.
A man came to help, he was deaf and dumb
and well we were in tune, deafened all by the sky noise.
I pointed out the problem, he had
a beam on his face like an honest sun.
He leaned with his forehead on the horses flank,
pulled quietly and slowly got to the hole. We could go.
The rain had eased, it was drizzling again.
We said goodbye to him with the palm of our hand
starting to go, his smile receding.
The roar had stopped, silence again was spreading,
now we felt sprinkled, lighter, plunged once more
into the greenness of the green.
giving the book to me,
the front cover leaning heavily on the right,
the thick furrows on the spine
after you have flexed the binding
cracking it at each page, to have it all
in full light, to possess the words, eat them
naked, without the least shadow.
Your hands, keeping it as a precious dish,
a regal gift, your reading glasses still a bit
down on your nose.
Now its my turn.
It could be the eternity
of stage after stage,
the horizon, the undergrowth of each season
a stare like earth sailing in our ears.
Walking inside my thoughts
along the waters edge,
taken by the constant mix
of memories fears hopes,
the normal stubbornness
throwing sticks to my dog
and feeling in my back
the always tense and caged
jerk of tendons and bones,
I gaze at the foaming waves,
the same spreading at my side
and breathing all over,
the letting-go where nothing leaves
and everything rests like legs
stretching in the largest bed,
the roaring expanse
too present not to be beyond,
that keeps shrugging
all things off
but widens too much
to mean abandonment.
A cow munching in a field on a cliff edge,
her gaze, her jaws busy with the quiet
swirls of soil and grass.
Instants, ages of munching mincing,
accurate teeth tearing inch by inch
of stalks in thick bunches.
Gazing, grazing, concentrated
on an eternity of specks and hues.
Until one day when she slipped and fell
and rolled down the cliff,
imagine eyes full of gentle soil
now meeting eddies of rocks and sky
and splashing into sudden emptiness,
floating in a frenzy, running on nothing,
then the frightened pits of her irises
taking in the strip of speckled beach
where she would be pulled up
dragged by dripping arms in soaking sweaters,
on stepping out imagine
a gaze of bewilderment and relief
and the glistening browns and beiges
of the arms on her skin
meaning earth and safety.