Thursday, March 17, 2011

Deep Green

St. Patrick's Day was a Sunday that year, and we awoke late, our bodies waiting for the overnight rain to disappear before coming to life. But even that was slow, we breathed in the stew of smells, sheets dried outside on the line, the sweat of our bodies, the peat from the fire in the next room, the salt slipping in on the westerly breeze.

"When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other's work would bring us to our senses."

I did not read her poetry, but watched her as she stood naked, silhouetted against the dull blue sky. "You haven't written a thing in three days," she said. Not a question, so I stayed silent.

She turned.

"Today?" "Not today, we need to be outside today. Tomorrow, tomorrow is Monday."

We gathered things to eat from the kitchen - brown bread and black pudding, yoghurt and bangers, cheese and bottles of beer - and walked from the house down the hill. We could hear the Atlantic breathing. We could smell the live wool of the sheep. We felt the winds of the world grazing our faces.

At the shore we lay on a blanket. There was just enough sun to allow us to keep ourselves warm.

(copyright 2011 by Ira David Socol)

In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984 by Seamus Heaney

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