It’s open link night at the dVerse Poets Pub, Grace is behind the bar and any one can belly up to tell a tale, old or new. She began the telling with Lines for Winter by Mark Strand. I didn’t know Mark Strand, but I liked his poem so much I stepped out to google and found another poem about black maps with a line – …not the attendance of stones, that I liked. All the while, simultaneously,at the back of my mind is wondering what story I should tell. Studying Mark’s Black Map the place (that wasn’t a place) felt to me like an island and reminded me of a Irish poem from my book Sitting on the Hag Seat: A Celtic Knot of Poetry. The poem is about friendship and maintaining it across space and time. And here we are meeting in a virtual barroom, socializing across unknown times and distances, connecting the way stones connect, and places connect, and maps connect people to places and… and… and the list goes on and Indra’s net continues to twinkle and shine as we dance across his ancient endless web of connections… Que milagro!
A Piece of Irish Earth
She walks the muddy shore alone
searching for just the right stone.
Her friend, a mesa carrier, initiate
of a cosmology indigenous to far away Peru,
has asked for a rock. It seems a small request,
but ordinary Irish earth is hard to come by.
Crannogs, castles, standing stones, hill forts,
faerie trees, tumuli and towers dot
every mile of countryside from Malin Head
to Bantry Bay, from County Down to Dingle.
The woman who gathers for her friend
will not loot some treasured site, instead she picks
around the Nile green excrement of swans,
bits of snow white, feathered fluff, an empty
mussel shell or two, trusting that the palm-perfect
pebble will rise to stub her toe or send a sunbeam
bouncing from a facet to glance across her gaze.
She hefts a shard of granite, more ancient
than any man-made artifact, old as air and water,
more traveled than the woman, her friend, or Ireland
adrift upon tectonic currents, and wonders at the gossamer
ties, strong as spider silk, that float across the hemispheres
of planet earth connecting us, each one to another.
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