I am the wren psalming the rising sun
I am the foam of the sea rushing the shore
I am the deer that leaps through woods,
I am the purple thistle, velvet and sting,
I am the otter romping the river,
I am the raindrop that sweetens the spring,
I am the red fox, tail brushing the field,
I am the moss that furs the bark of the oak,
I am the dolphin whistling in the waves
I am the hawthorn, berry and blossom, blush in the hedgerow,
I am the quicksilver moonbeam,
I am the center of the eye, pursuing the horizon,
I am the breath of God – stardust and song.
Editor’s note: The poem is in the style of the “Song of Amergin” (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amergin_Gl%C3%BAingel and http://celticmythpodshow.com/Resources/Amergin.php)
Image credit: A willow wren with a wide distribution in Ireland [Photograph by marliesplatvoet (Pixabay)]
We come to the coast – broken,
bruised – we reach the edge
of our world. Waves stretch, winds
shift – freedom in the West.
Waked, we want a different,
new beginning. Instead, death clings
like barnacles on our ships.
Anchored in murky holds, this damp womb
through narrow stalls. We knot
in cages, pens – stench and sickness
dock at the harbor.
into cities, towns, we’re strangers
among strangers. Kerchiefs swapped
for aprons, brogues swallowed in shame,
even God is different here.
What do we keep, what to abandon?
Tied to our past, memory beckons.
Nightmares from the Old Country blur
into dream. Ancient enemies –
hunger, poverty – they’re here, too.
Orphans from that old world, our families
become rooted, grow in this one.
How many tides have turned since our fathers,
our mothers crossed the sea,
leaving behind an ocean of graves?
Editor’s Note: See http://www1.assumption.edu/ahc/irish/overview.html about the Irish immigration and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholera_outbreaks_and_pandemics about the cholera outbreaks.
Image credit: Irish emigrants on shipboard in the River Mersey in Liverpool, England, about to embark for America, c. 1846 (Assumption College, ‘The E Pluribus Unum Project’.)
Alarm bleeps though it’s still dark
outside the windows. Even the street
lamp has gone to bed.
But I sigh and rise, slip my feet
into Monday’s socks —
August’s dusky room cool.
Continue reading Work Week, Teacher – Poem by KB Ballentine
for my parents …
Saw palmettos sputter under autumn sun,
hibiscus burning bright in the landscaped parking lot.
Sand, salt cling to flip-flops, cola cans, skin,
scatter like a trail of breadcrumbs from car to store.
Continue reading Hialeah-Miami Springs, Then and Now – Poem by KB Ballentine
Dawn blossoms May’s moon,
tempts white-winged moths
to worship the dew.
The widow of Coomcallee limps
the river bank, seeks the shallows,
water shushing pebble, stone.
Continue reading Beltane Blaze – Poem by KB Ballentine
Fog smears the valley,
ribbons of cherry blossoms
pinking dark woods.
Your memory tempts me,
lures me into the mist
where a grouse cackles,
something scampers in shadows.
Continue reading After Midnight – Poem by KB Ballentine
The bluebirds are back –
spring can’t be far behind.
Bits of blue fleck the feeder
though skies still rain gray.
Continue reading At First Sight – Poem by KB Ballentine
You are always twenty-six.
I feel your heart in the beat of wind-
shield wipers and rain on the roof.
Continue reading Driving to Palm Beach Gardens Cemetery – Poem by KB Ballentine
Whispers from the walls
conquer the silence of the street.
Memories flow into and through
me: you mowing the lawn, planting
roses; her pink elephant, blue tie
scrunched in bow-shaped lips.
Continue reading Beyond the Silence — Poem by K. B. Ballantine
Shomerim* at Birkenau
*guardians or keepers of the dead
Tagged with the numbers scarred
on my grandmother’s arm, I step through
the open gate once barred against her.
Continue reading Shomerim at Birkenau — by KB Ballantine