For My Grandson
This is your first night in Carrigskeewaun.
The Owennadoraun is so full of rain
You arrived in Paddy Morrison's tractor,
A bumpy approach in your father's arms
To the cottage where, all of one year ago,
You were concieved, a fire seed in the hearth.
Did you hear the wind in the fluffy chimney?
Do you hear the wind tonight, and the rain
And a shore bird calling from the mussel reefs?
Tomorrow I'll introduce you to the sea,
Little hoplite. Have you been missing it?
I'll park your chariot by the otter's rock
And carry you over seaweed to the sea.
There's a tufted duck on David's lake
With her sootfall of hatchlings, pompoms
A day old and already learning to dive.
We may meet the stoat near the erratic
Boulder, a shrew in his mouth, or the merlin
Meadow-pipit-hunting. But don't be afraid.
The leveret breakfasts under the fuschia
Every morning, and we shall be watching.
I have picked wildflowers for you, scabious
And centaury in a jam jar of water
That will bend and magnify the daylight.
This is your first night in Carrigskeeaun.
Michael Longley (from The New Yorker)
In Mimi's Garden
I loved typing this poem For My Grandson, listening to the words
trill and thrill the tongue. It was so appropriate since the issue arrived
the last day of Noah's visit with us. What an amazing little boy, so curious
and alive, so full of love and intense wonder at the world.
I planted a garden this year, watered the seeds and pulled the weeds
and watched the abundance manifest from the dark earth - and I wondered
at times why I was doing it - Who is it for, all this beauty? I am nearly the
only person who looks at these flowers, or tends these fragile plants.
Then, Noah came - and he loved Mimi's garden! He learned about tomatoes,
how to pick them gently so they didn't squeeze or bruise. How dill tasted,
and how basil smelled...how to pull the baby carrots.The tassels of cornsilk
and the thorns of roses were of equal interest, and the great sunflowers,
towering and bobbing...He watched lizards and beetles with delight and even
kissed a toad on the mouth, much to our surprise!