Nóirín Kavanagh is a blow in who has made Leitrim her home for over twenty years. She loves reading, music and Leitrim! She has recently started to write and shares these poems with encouragement from Mary Branley and the Poetry Clinic group.
The clouds seemed full of indecision
As they peopled the sky over the lake,
Some bright and pure,
soft sweeps of the brush against a patch of blue,
claiming the summer,
More grey and confused jostling for position,
awkwardly blocking the light as they held onto their load.
A soft breeze entered the fray and
for a moment the evening sun broke through,
scattering glitter on the water beneath.
I saw them then, at the edge of my line of vision.
They flew together, rhythm constant, wingbeat for wingbeat,
And without a glance pulled up and came to land.
Barely breaking the surface of the lake, now bathed in silver,
I watched as they moved,
the confident arch of their necks, their unspoken understanding of what to do,
unperturbed by the unfolding drama above them.
Heart and purpose at one, unaware of their fragile beauty..
I stared out across the lake, still now and waiting.
When I looked back they were gone.
Sonorous and deep, the voice booms an old tune from the radio days,
Bad signal, background static, not even the original singer
Yet so close, so close…
My senses are suddenly filled with the smell of stale smoke, Sweet
Afton, Woodbine, mingled with old coats damp and drying by an open fire,
The low rumble of men talking in hushed tones,
Intense and passionate,
Secrets, schemes, rights and wrongs, and the fixing of same
So young, and swept up in the fever of the time,
I shook with excitement then,
Something was going to happen
It was going to be important, and afterwards
Everything would be different
And inhaling the stale smoke,
Feeding on the intensity of the conversation,
I thought I was a part of it
And maybe, in a way, I was.
The song ended, and I return to the present.
I sit, as the energy drains out of me
From the mere recollection of those times.
Visions of a world transformed
A new age
Everything old and new at one and the same time
Broken things restored
No resurrection there.
I sigh and consider
How so much changes without actually changing very much at all.
Cynicism makes me old, and deeply suspicious of visions,
Yet hearing that song
Reminds me that I wasn’t always so.
Reminds me that once I knew hope, and passion, and I believed.
Reminds me that even if the world was not transformed, for a time
What will Mother Earth,
Who watches and waits while we stumble through our years
Teach me today?
I sit by the sea shore patiently
(Yesteryear’s lesson was How To wait Patiently)
I recall an image of the child I was, catch a fleeting glimpse of myself
Chasing the waves at the edge of the shore but not daring to go further in
I was old then, so careful, in my child’s way, even sensible
But mostly old in my knowing
I knew too much, and understood nothing
This is not today’s lesson.
The scene shifts and I am still chasing the waves but now holding my own children
I am woman and mother; I carry them out to the waves chest high
They squeal in terror and delight, gripping my arms, clinging to my neck
As the waves crash about us
I want them to learn courage
And hope they also learn trust
But not too much!
This isn’t today’s lesson either.
No images now
I am still within and without
As the waves do what they have been doing
For all time
I draw breath
Old, yet younger than I have ever been
Now I am crone
And the child within me is free at last
I am crone
And the woman within me exults in all the power that is woman
I am crone
And so much of what I once knew is forgotten
But I finally begin to understand
This is the season for bargains to be struck:
Trading memories and facts for innocence and wonder
Letting go of things once held dear for gifts more precious, should we find the courage,
Realising how we are small and great all at once and seeking no explanation,
Just dwelling in the mystery
I offer thanks in silence
This is today’s lesson
The snow fell
And covered the hills.
It filled the crevices, bridged gaps, adorned
The shapely curves of ancient stone.
The snow fell, and
Filled the hearts of the young
With exuberant joy, and
Brought tender smiles to older faces.
The snow fell like a benediction
On the tired earth,
Covering all that was in twinkling splendour
A blanket of purity, a silent presence.
The snow fell, and
Before our eyes the familiar was transformed
And seen afresh, and we knew delight,
Even as the thaw was setting in.