Every town I've lived in has been on a river - I was born on a town on the Liffey, which enters the sea in Dublin. From age 3 til 21, I lived in Limerick, at the mouth of the Shannon, Ireland's longest (and most majestic) river. At 21, I moved to live in Sligo, where I was lucky enough to live in a house overlooking a lake just where it joined the Garravogue river
. That was where I lived when I met my husband. While we moved to live in another part of the town, the river was a presence during the early years of our marriage, and when my son was born and during his first 9 years of life. Then, 12 years ago, we moved to live in Donegal, and the river in our town (the Swilly) is a less dramatic presence in the town, but still, when I catch a glimpse
any time I drive out of town, it soothes me. Here, it makes its way to the sea, and if I walk far enough up my road, I come to where I can make my way to its banks.
The only "River" poem I've written (that I can recall) brings 3 of these rivers together. As a ritual of release, after my marriage ended, and after I had had my long plait (braid) cut, I brought one strand to each of the 3 rivers and let them go.
The Shannon was a rushing greedy swirl,
grabbing my offering, tugging it in a whirl,
pulling that first strand towards the salt,
tearing into dark and deep places.
The Garravogue curled towards where I stood,
welcomed my gift, held it only a moment
before the sinking, the drift to oblivion,
the dropping down, the loss.
The gentle Swilly, wide and kind
has taken the last years to its tide,
given me the clouds, the moon,
sweeping birds that flow to her line.
These waters are the westward flow,
the waters of my days, my life.
I give them the traces of our years,
three strands, unbraided:
beginning, middle, end
of me as wife.
Labels: Life., Limerick, Poetry Thursday