When the fog lifts off of Kinsale Harbor
and you see the sun reflected
like the pale eye of a dead fish
in the murky waters of tangleweed and shipwreck debris,
note that some places are left with an unmistakable residue of mystery.
When the blue heron lifts its distinctive wings
from the wellspring of Kinsale Harbor,
its languid sweep will remain etched
like a deep thread in the memory of ancestors.
Blue hewn and imbued with significance,
it carries unseen alms
for those who go down to sea
to gather pebbles
and piece by piece reconstruct their history.
When the legend of the white lady is lifted
from the lips of locals living by Kinsale Harbor,
you recognize the enduring motif
of tragedy and unrequited love
evident in all these stories
that haunt quiet lanes and Norman churches.
Shadows fleeting, we catch mystery in the details,
words sticking to you like an oppressive air,
when attached to a physical place,
we put them down in fog-obscured and isolated towns
where the imagination is bound to usher in the drowned dead
to wander through another headland in the sea.
If it is in your disposition to receive these visions,
they’ll be reaching through windows,
or if auditory, their subtle transmissions
get trapped like a piper’s notes
to float like the widow’s ghost
over the silence of old forts.
Amplified, the recording is replayed over and over
on the rampart’s leap, they remain spellbound,
this port town where this is recurring.
You see the tide going out,
the sails receding in the first light of morning,
you stayed long enough, it had touched you without warning,
Kinsale and its haunted aura
and in your wake you’ll leave the harbor
but know it remains with you, like a tragic lover,
linked arm in arm under the cover
of memory, of synchronicity,
destined for the recollection of travel
and the impression you left when passing through.