Issue 168, Winter 2003
He labored above the impassable coast
where gulls hovered to their nests on rock,
shy youth worrying his dream-drenched songs.
He wandered below the Ben of Howth,
his self-conscious cloak flapping in a wind
that lifted the bracken’s leathery fronds
in twilight descending on Ireland’s Eye
and the gaslit city he would come to hate
near sixty years on, its “paudeen” streets
a pastiche of his filthy modern tide,
hum of streetlamps’ pale, redundant moons
drowning the ghost-lit music of the spheres
where he stood alone on O’Connell Bridge.
Months from his own new moon, all masks
dropped, he confessed his rage at what he saw
and prayed for a third war to wipe the slate.
Forgiving himself the lot, he may be back,
a strange tourist of the new millennium
milling among the nouveau riche, a chorus
of cell phones perched in their hands singing
of what is to come, while the new estates
spread inexorably toward the summit.
He sees the fierce rocky faces of these cliffs
still plummeting into the stone-revising sea.