Wolves in the Wilderness Once there were wolves in the deep, feathered snow. In quiet, ancient valleys. In the mountains of Mexico. I dreamt about it long ago, of a house with a flaking door; of coffee and music and bare feet falling softly on a sunlit floor. Now there are places neither of us goes, and reasons only he knows. There are wolves in Montana, stalking meadows lush and green. Tearing farm dogs limb from limb in night-time pastures pristine. There are wolves that live only in our childhood memories. Things
This is an old poem I wrote when my grandmother was beginning to deteriorate with early onset Alzheimer’s. As it happens, and as life goes, my grandfather became suddenly ill not long after this with a severe brain tumour and passed away a year before my grandma. This was my imagining life without her. It might seem a funny thing to say, but I’m glad it happened the way it did. Whilst my grandma missed my grandad so much, I have a feeling he simply wouldn’t have coped without her. She was a tender woman with an enormous reserve
This is a poem I wrote several years ago but it just surfaced again unexpectedly, so I thought I would share. In the northernmost territories, where bald eagles circle their prey Smaller birds are stalked in the open sky by men with pellets of clay Grey wolves run in morning packs across the deep and pristine snow Searching for food in rocky crevices where freshwater used to flow Where fish used to swim, darting silver beneath the springs Birds swept through the clouds with two strong and unclipped wings Myriad stars hung like diamonds in the still and glassy night
Your absence brought me silence. Silence brought me presence. This is the simplest way I can think of to say Thank You.
Your blankets have been hot-washed, tumbled and donated and your corner of the kitchen is clear and simply a kitchen corner again, suitable for the storage of dustpans and brushes, dinner trays and a box of emergency toys and crayons for the kids. You were my baby and I loved you and I could have sworn fifty times today that you had come trotting shyly into the lounge, seeking a warm lap or my abandoned grey shawl to hide in. Our quiet little opportunist. My heart will miss your sweetness and the contentment of your sunlit dreams. The
The little one has mucus gathered at her nose this evening and she lays in my arms unpurring and still, onyx eyes open. Her tiny animal heart beats at a speed she surely cannot take for too long. My fingers touch it, fluttering wildly in the cage of her ribs, beneath her front limbs when I lift her up to feel the sun. The skin of her ears is paper thin, red and veined, translucent and warm. He, an old man in a crumpled suit, bones only recently filtered into the earth, bends to sing from his gut, while
Our wild sea is white in your absence though dogs leap and roll on the shingle, knowing nothing of our grief. Of course, you are not really absent, and the leaves, now withered and cracked, will grow again, emerald in the spring. These songs we sing with tears in our throats will rise beyond this simple roof and be carried upon the clouds to your quiet, eternal heart. Lovers, daughters, friends and mothers shall never truly part. Your kindness and grace, bestowed throughout the years, has given comfort and inspiration to us all. Of all the words you
Only a few moments ago, I slumped on the floor by your bed like a child and pressed my thumb into the fleshy nook of your elbow and felt the last waxy warmth between your ribs and your arm, as though you were still able to hold me. And I thought then about wandering upon the wet cobblestones in Galway after dark, live music from gallery bars competing with the rushing of the sea and the stars falling one by one like shivering birds shot out of the sky. Sleep well now, my love, and thank you for
It seems I spend my life crouched in some cold kitchen with an upturned glass and a torn piece of card, trying to capture time as though it could still thrive, contained in an elegant dome of my choosing. Moments, shivering and rare, scuttle across the floor wishing not to be trapped nor admired by those who do not realise that these silver, suffocated things are ancient eagles soaring over empty mountains, wide wetlands that stretch in a shimmering curve all the way to the sky.
There are morning crows on the splintered fences, yakking and pushing each other around. The first crunches of ice on the ground, these cheap boots that let the water in. I want this all to be over. I want it only to begin. I long to reach in to the gut and the lungs and the mess of it. Hold it still, keep it all exactly as it is. There is a Christmas tree in the bedroom now, the kind that makes slow patterns on the wall. Crackling war songs and changing colours as she sleeps. I can still hear