A Diversion in Dublin

HENRIETTA_STREET_-_DUBLIN_(402556531)
There’s a quiet vacancy to old Dublin on a Sunday morning,
a spry vagrancy to wandering astray
into the day barely breathing
and not fully awake.
Before clocks unlock doors
and industrious footsteps
fill the corridors
of this capital
where you’ll happily
disappear into crowds.
Silence sounds even more pronounced
when pressed upon brick
and blocks of amorphous rows.
In this current comes the solitary realization
that you are alone,
hemmed in by this thought,
is a city after all
and the emptiness of these quarters
leave you to decipher
whether it is danger you are feeling
or the furtive urge
to pass straight through to the city limits
where restlessness can be spread like shadow
over the countryside and disperse.
Idyllic is nature
when our own can be anchored
to the fortitude of mountains,
you catch glimpses of them
through cracks in the windows,
they are ever a refuge.

You only get as far as St. Steven’s Green
that radiates from the center
its own serenity
of birds in hidden sanctuary,
voices who bid adieu
to the weeping willow tree.
The sky in intervals has done the same
and when you resume your wandering
it is over wet streets,
the retreat of weary soles
bound to walking, inch by inch
this city emerging
from cinched black garter belts.
To pinch a glance in greasy alleys
upon cobbles slick
for you to slink
towards the Liffey’s drink
through Temple Bar,
divergent and far from your intentions,
the warm breath of the pub
swings open stale air
but is enticing just the same
to settle into dark wood
where a good draft is a blackened river
that parts the bracken like a witch’s brew
to loosen the leaden tongue
so rooms can erupt in spontaneous song,
a catalog of longing
for sanctuary, for freedom,
for a home no longer your own
but lying somewhere between
diversion and further immersion,
between the notion of comfort
and being expelled in some immeasurable current,
such is travel.

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The Poisoned Glen

poison glen
Something in the atmosphere suggests
that the name is not merely a matter of mistaken linguistics.
Words, a pale skin,
a lifeless layering of dust
over everything that has happened here.
Victims to the passing of time,
they are barely a memory,
a backdrop to the savage beauty,
a ruined church at Dunlewey,
a windowless shell of what was,
a vessel to look through the form
and see those who wander forlorn
on the other side.
In skeletal hills
the land is scarred like a dead meadow.
With shadows black
as the underside of a burnt kettle.
The scent of smoke from a distant peat fire
permeates the air,
giving rise to a pall
that punctuates the despair.
It seems the specter of the famine is ever near.
Imprinted on the wind,
a passing whimper of history,
sinister harvester of the impoverished.
The graves of someone’s children
are tiny markings under tall grass,
swallowed in the magnitude of the glen.

You sense in the stillness,
souls are never at rest.
Beneath the oratory,
a towering dome
on which the transformation was known
as Errigal, the capturer of light,
of sorrow, of flight,
of the exile pursued by sea
to his death by crushing blow
that would empty poison into this hollow,
to forever spew forth
for all that follow their envy.
You see, beauty is innocent
and beyond control.
Beauty that flourishes when left alone,
becomes poison with the alchemy
of a possessed man’s soul.
The legend of Balor is written here,
as is the ghost of the green lady.
I’m told in passing of a greedy host,
a serial murderer,
who would lure in the weary
with the promise of shelter and tea
on their way home from overseas.
A bed for the night
would rob them of life,
bodies lightened of coins,
glittering in darkened wells,
weighted, waiting to be recognized,
the ivy and this opening disguised
as it drapes a tendriled arm
over stories that were worth listening,
disturbing what was resting,
your presence, a sudden wind
slipping in between
the collar and the nape of the neck,
raising the skin
over all you were considering
in relation to this beautiful
but poisoned glen.