Inland Among Stones


                        to my father


1.  The Tower on the Cliffs of Moher


We empty wind from our pockets

and finger a few coins and decide

not to climb the unlit stair.


2.  The Burren


There is a prayer

they say here, finding the first

gentian of the season:  May we be

alive this time next year.

3.  St. Bridget's Well


A cemetery near Liscannor.

Facing the crosses, we face the sea.


You tell me a story:  how they say

an eel lives in the water and brings luck

if you're lucky enough to see.


I watched you kneel

to fill a small glass vial.


Later that water spilled in your suitcase.

4.  The Bells of St. Mary's


This city has a saying:  we are ancient

and well versed in the art of war.


They say their cathedral was once

a meeting house for Vikings

who used the stone at the door

to sharpen their swords.


They say the stone still bears scars.

5.  A Hotel on O'Connell


Rebuilding is possible.

Wars happen and are forgotten,

or perhaps left alone.


Let the old tower remain rubble.

Forgive rebels for giving

the admiral his one explosive send-off.

6.  The Ogham Stone


In the story of King Mider,

the Isle of Man is guarded by white cranes

who shout get away, pass by.


The forts and beehive huts monks built

still brace the wind off the sea, deserted.


The hammered stones they left upright,

their names notched in simple lines—

my name was—this my father—and his—


You showed me the plot

you bought for yourself on a hilltop

above the miles of alluvial fan.


Whatever stone you choose, it will bear

more than your name.


Father.

If we are strong the cranes will step aside.


When the ground closes,

you'll have nothing left to say.

I will be stone.


The one left standing.

Copyright © 1999-2017 Juked