Darkened Irish church

North wind
It shook me about at Mullaghmore.
The Atlantic reminding my southern body
of all the unruly things that exist here. 

And my love for its uncontrollable self
grew into veneration at Ballyconnell
as we watched each wave strike at black rock.

The moment being great commotion

even while the sun shone like biblical etching.
We sat without words
as your car rocked a mad lullaby.

Later you'd build a turf fire
and the scent of it beckoned earth
so fully inside the room,
so fully that all my thoughts flew to Bricklieve.

And in my mind's eye
I travelled with velocity and turbulence,
I travelled with the north wind.
Because it's where I gather strength.

It's where I exist in full fathom,
even when I'm shaken and shaking.

What becomes of you when you lose this grip on life?

Am I to rise up and over rooftops
and become misty-breathed?

Will the sky hold my weight across its shoulders?

And what will become of my thoughts
when I look down, as if a hawk over garden or meadow?

What ploughed fields will take my fancy?

What walker will have his best foot forward?
Will my eyes be my very own now, across the failing light?

And if I were to rise, would I feel more or less sure of a destination?

Is there will? Or insistence, even?
Is there a need to return and wake in my shadow?

Thinner and thinner I'll become, I am sure of it

Until the sigh of the day is heard,
each shadow merging to alter angelic breath.

A wing beat becoming the pulse of lost thoughts letting go.

Inside this darkened church there are whispers,
flame-lit candles stand like priest-smooth souls.

There are unknown angels bowing their heads,
a clutter of saints who cross themselves in stony silence.

Time and time again, Christ's palms do not heal.

A blessing of rain
The rain came like a blessing
making the world a softer vision,
and if I had the opportunity
to control such things
I would include rainfall
at certain parts of every day —
midafternoon especially,
when the light is cool-grey and ancient.
And always in darkness,
to allow for roof sonatas.
So that we may sleep
inside a dreamscape of possibility.

Libby HartLibby Hart's collection Fresh News from the Arctic received the Anne Elder Award and was shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Prize. Libby is the recipient of a DJ O'Hearn Memorial Fellowship at The Australian Centre (University of Melbourne) and an international skills and arts development studio residency (Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland, 2008) from the Australia Council for the Arts.

Topic tags: Four poems by Libby Hart, North Wind, Priest, Killarney and A Blessing Of Rain



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Existing comments

Thank you for a very evocative piece.
Janet Marsh | 21 July 2009

Congratulations, Libby!
I was born in Belfast, N Ireland and re-visited it in October 2003. I wish you had been with me to help me articulate what I was thinking and what I felt in my heart. Among many of my intense experiences was a visit to my old parish church for Saturday night mass.

There I heard the most moving homily for us, the congregation, to be good neighbours, good Samaritans; to take those dangerous first steps across the street and offer a helping hand to those who were different but in need.
Forget what the priest and Levi failed to do, what can I do? Go think!
Uncle Pat | 21 July 2009

I loved the poetry today. Can we have more poems scattered among the articles?

This is not a reflection on the articles which are invariably stimulating and helpful, but simply a request for more poems.

Thanks for all you are doing in providing Eureka Street in e form.
Mac Nicoll | 21 July 2009

Hi Libby, I just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading these poems very much. 'The rain came like a blessing' - a wonderful line.
Thom Sullivan | 21 July 2009

Thanks so much to Janet, Pat, Mac and Thom for their lovely comments. I'm so glad you enjoyed the work represented in Eureka Street on 21 July 2009. Best wishes, Libby Hart
Libby Hart | 22 July 2009

Dear Libby, I needed to read North Wind to be called back to myself, and you did and thank you.
Mary Branley | 23 July 2009


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