In honor of Famous Seamus, who died on Friday, I had to try to write a poem. I was lucky enough to meet and speak with Mr. Heaney twice in my previous life as a graduate student, and I was impressed with his gentle, open nature. He exuded wisdom and kindness, and I will always love his poetry and be inspired by his love of language. For Seamus, then, and for the lovely reminders of our Irish landscape that keep cropping up in my new life, comforting me through a transition period and helping me find home.
This poem relies heavily on my favorite technique: alliteration.
Ferns fringe the edges of my runs
along rural roads in a New England town.
In the rain-dredged hedges of my younger days,
they bounced with breezes of southwest Ireland
and bristle still in the same boreens.
When thoughts rove, restless in the early jogging miles,
my eyes ease and anchor on familiar rock walls.
My feet follow their granite lace,
which stitches its way with heavy grace,
hemming in homes and framing farms.
In a neighboring town, a surprise:
foxgloves brimming in a friend’s garden,
brightening memories of youthful walks
when my siblings and I sought summer.
I choose the plum of their bright blooms for the bedroom paint.
Thistles and foxes were some of the riches I registered
then, taking for granted Irish greens and grays.
Now, new discoveries resonate:
hydrangea and hummingbirds,
and a hayfield mown into a heart.
As old layers unfold into new lives,
I pirouette with the past and learn
that there does not have to be a parting,
that what is privately precious remains
and that this privilege, embraced, brings peace.