For Clíodhna

Memories,  memories: Is it true? No.
Did any of it happen? Yes – kinda.
Who is it about?  Not sayin’.
Will she read it?  Not a chance.
Is she alive? No idea…maybe.
Did she like rum? She seduced me with it. 🙂

As winter yields
and April fades to May
the lengthening days
awaken cigarette smoke
and Tullamore Dew
cloaked memories
of that summer we shared
on Árainn Mhór:

You lying in the sun
reading the thickest books we found
yellowing in a Dungloe shop window;
Illustrated ‘Life of Brian’ scripts,
‘The Last Temptation of Christ’,
you liked them both –
and you, an atheist.

Naked splashing
in a spring-water rock pool
warmed in the sun
flushed by the tide.
As the Earth turned slowly
and seeming timeless
campfire evenings
stretched tilting –
tilting into darkness
I drank too much Tullamore’
And you sipped rum.

You lying on talc-soft
passionate sand,
beneath a parasol,
a wisp of gauze draped –
for decency’s sake –
casually across your thighs,
captivated me.

As I walked toward you,
you laid aside ‘The Temptation’
and I swear to God,
that in your face
I saw the face of God.
And your welcoming smile
was His smile
and your wide-open arms
were His arms
your accepting of me
was His acceptance.

I had to visit you again:
Leaving the ferry from Burtonport
I hired a bike and rode
past Lough Shore
to the old lighthouse
where you spent long hours
painting your watercolours
and wanted to settle
but the cancer feasting on you
consumed you

I buried your ashes
in an amphora
you brought from Syria –
planted an asphodel
and inscribed a memorial
on a flat chalk stone,

“Here lies my brief miracle.”

Weathered by winters
the inscription is faded.

I sit drinking rum –
it tastes of your hugs
embraces my soul
you are near
you are
so very near.

I will go to the shore
to find another
white soft-stone marker,
and on it I’ll write,

“Tread Gently… Clíodhna dreams here.”






© coolhermit 2023
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