No 11 - May 2000
Swansea-Cork ferry story
It was easy to take the meaning of slack water
as the boat turned into the harbour haven.
It was easy to imagine men in small boats
crossing the unimagined sea with God as their refuge.
It was easy to see great grey stone churches
by the waterside and recognise a holy island.
It was easy to think of angels, as the rising sun
lit the water and seabirds circled a landing.
It was easy to feel welcome as Christ the worker
held out his hand above the fuschia hedges.
It was easy to hear my own language belonging
sweetly to mew phrases and other idioms.
It was easy hearing what the English did
to feel small pain and then forget.
It was easy to find the cathedral with the golden
angel on high and the stone angels nearer my heart.
It was easy to feel illumined as the sun shone
through coloured glass in the holy stories.
It was easy in the gallery to read about famine
and starvation, it is easy to remember.
It was easy in the gallery café to drink coffee
and buy a pound of soda bread mix with instructions.
It was easy to walk in the sunshine with nothing
else to do but meet friends in the sunlit market.
It was easy to see that some people have hard lives
no matter how long the sun shines.
It was easy to drink Murphy’s or Guinness
and forget everything but present company.
It was easy to listen to steely jazz and sink
another mellow pint for conversation’s sake.
It was easy to wander the streets at night
feeling young until the young got going.
It was easy to sleep in clean sheets and wake
to breakfast without having to work for it.
It was easy to be surprised by the death of Mother
Teresa and to see her picture with Diana’s.
It was easy to watch the funeral on television
and it was good to hear republican commentary.
It was easy to feel easy with the Irish workers
who watched the same pictures in the next room.
It was easy at the folk festival at the posh hotel
to be teased about being subject to the Queen.
It was easy to forget politics for strong music
as bands played great in the upstairs rooms.
It was easy to enjoy civilisation as the boat
surged smoothly home under kind sunshine.
It was easy to think there was something unsaid
between us. Can it never be said I wondered.
It was here I read it is terrible terrible terrible
and it is not yet come to the worst.
It was easy nine years after the poem’s eve
to hope it did so come to the worst.
It was here I remembered people on their knees
facing the invisible site of mystery.
It was easy to think that patriarchy
is the source of all our troubles.
It is easy to use words and say nothing.
In the English of an Irish poet in Wales
it was a story resolved me, from television
in Australia, about an aborigine father,
original man of the island, and the sacred
footprint of the stolen child. I was shaken.
It was easy to recognise the original source
of art and prayer in the original earth.
It was easy to want to write about such things.
it was easy to wish for a fine conclusion.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The