Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Tuesday Poem - 'Afterword' by Robyn Rowland


i.m. Seamus Heaney, April 13 1939 – August 30 2013

It was the week after your funeral mass.

Your poem Postscript was meandering through my memory,

with your government of the tongue, your message about voice,

unique sound of a poet come into themselves.

I was re-arriving, driving from Clifden,

the road you knew well, out

along the marbled spine of our peninsula,

jetlagged, neither here nor there.

Packed overgrowth from summer was so full

compared to the stark cold spring I left earlier in the year,

when you were reading and writing, knowing already

tomorrows are best left uncounted.

It was a soft day but no wind to blow the dust off a long trip,

no hurry in the low-slung sky,

a slight hush in the lightly wet wheels.

Air had been thoroughly soaked and a

county-full of spiders busy at work.

The land was hung as if for Christmas –

every tip of gorse branch, each dip of lavender heath,

every vacant space between the cups of fuchsia,

was glitter-strung. Thousands of webs, millions of drops,

netted a tinselled land, branches rising

as shimmering limbs from the bog,

or perhaps heaven had laid out a lacy crystal cloth

that angels at play dropped careless beneath long hugging clouds,

and the trees, reaching up, had torn it about themselves

in bliss at their lovely ornament.

Or maybe, for a small moment, the earth,

feeling aged beyond counting, had

webbed-over with wearied loss,

grown ancient at your death.

Robyn Rowland © from Line of Drift, Doire Press, Galway Ireland, 2015

Third generation Irish-Australian, Dr Robyn Rowland AO  has been reading and teaching in Ireland for 32 years.  A citizen of both countries, she lives in the two places equally.

Robyn has previously published ten books, seven of poetry, with two further books forthcoming in 2015: Line of drift, emerging from her life in both Ireland and Australia (Doire Press, Galway, Ireland) and This Intimate War. Gallipoli/Canakkale 1915 –  içli dışlı bir savaş. Gelibolu/Çanakkale 1915 (Australia and Turkey). The latter, based in historical research, represents the experience of both Australians and Ottoman Turks during that war. It is bi-lingual, with translations by Assoc Professor Dr Mehmet Ali Çelikel from Pamukkale University.

Line of Drift has just come out - congratulations, Robyn! You can purchase Line of Drift, (free postage!) Doire Press Galway at http://www.doirepress.com/writers/k-z/robyn_rowland/ 

I've been taking part in the Iowa Writer's Centre online poetry MOOC - and the linebreaks in the current Tuesday Poem, 'Albert Park' by Alice Miller interest me. Have a look and see what you think - I agree with the guest editor, Saradha Koirala that they invite you to read the poem in different ways.

Phew! Good to be back at the blog....


Jennifer Compton said...


Helen Lowe said...

This is a very moving poem and also very visual: I am inside the landscape, which is also that of loss, reading this.