Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Imagining the Emigrant's Sadness

Coming back from a holiday in Scotland,I got a very strong sense of sadness. It has to do with watching the slow diminishing of first the people,then the harbour,then the town,the town's environs,the country.

Loch Ryan is Pink.

Loch Ryan is pink.
Stranraer is curling up in a corner
with its people shrinking inside it.
I'm watching the hills' colour draining away
so they become just shadows of a land.
Only the gulls are real and even they
look more like discarded wrappers.

I am looking back over the stern
with the wind pouring down the port-side,
a wisp of the emigrant's sadness blows over me.
This receding shore to another Irishman
might have been Lough Foyle or Cobh or Sligo
and the light at Malin or Tory might
have been the last twinkle before the ship
buried itself in the Atlantic darkness.
The last beads of land would have been treasure
to be stored but instead they are like water.

As the day funnels even further to the west
Scotland makes itself small; somehow it seems
to be leaving us; turning away. The ship's trace
is a luminous wake and a highway of smoke;
you, who have left no trace, are already forgotten.
I imagine them homeless on board a Christmas tree
bobbing on an ocean between two continents.

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