Friday, June 1, 2012

Memory of My Father on Lough Ree

It was so safe and reassuring to walk as a child holding your father’s hand. How great and powerful fathers appeared to their seven year old sons. How perfect those times were. One day. One day you would be like that: strong and kind, if you could ever know enough.

Did you ever marvel at your father’s ability to drive from one part of the country to another and get you there, right to the door? That knowledge; it didn’t seem possible.

No surprise  then at the difficulties that commonly manifest themselves in teenage years when the role model is tarnished and communication have begun to fray. And when one looks for affirmation, it does not come easily, or not at all, from the hero branded into those souls years before.

Revisiting Lough Ree.
Morning comes colourless;
trees stoop to the lake like pilgrims
witnessing images that are riddles in the water.

A sudden shriek.  “Over here, no here, over here."
I see nothing; the lake keeps its children chilled
in ice buckets among the reeds.

Once I trailed a ripple from a boat
that  bevelled this water. I remember the oars’
loud soft thud, slap till I die

It was June. Insects teemed on the surface.
The sun, that tanned our backs, lulled the countryside
into sleep before the fields were even cranked.

My father was there.

Now December.The lake drags its cutlery
through this cress-green landscape
with an indifference that leaves memories shivering.

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