The Clare Trilogy

We crept away, not telling a soul. We left at dawn, phoned my son, told him to meet us there. Doonbeg, Clare.

Late Afternoon Yoga on the White Strand with my Daughter

Under the cliff, near the lapping shore, 
my daughter, turned downward dog into cat cow 
Her taut, lithe body framed itself into warrior three
contorted back into crab and stretched into tree.
Her hands reached into the kippered clouds 
rippling in pink across the late afternoon sea. 

Meantime, above, a  flow of black and white cattle, 
with shuddering udders, meandered, full of shape 
and sway, from the field at the top of the beach 
to a milking shed, flicking tails, leaking shit.
The waft and vision sent our dogs into a paroxysm 
of heaven, terror and joy, barking and yapping.

At the sound of the mayhem, we leapt with alacrity 
to leash our mutts, chasing and shouting ‘stop that’, 
‘come here’. Order restored, we apologised, admonished our pets
who flopped down, tongues lolling, unrepentant; 
We resumed our positions, Roisin in child’s pose, me 
smoking a cigarette, but the zen moment  was ruined.


The Pollock Hole in Kilkee

It was early morning
A man’s bare pale skin puckered,
red with goosebumps.
He chatted to his young son 
in no rush to leave or clothe himself.
Behind, in the sunlight, 
the pollock glistened in the flat granite rock
both alluring and frightful at the same time
It’s balmy, he joked.
My daughter undressed and crouched, preparing.
The man and boy left.
I stepped away, traversing the plateau of black and grey
dotted with light. I sniffed the bright blue and yellow
cold wind snipped at my ankles
the town quiet at the prom.
I circled back to the pollock.
She was still on the rock
I waited. She plunged. I saw her legs kick
Her mouth gasp, her arms flail.
It’s so cold, she wailed, but wonderful
I wanted to go in
But my heart failed.


O’Brien’s Cottage, Doonbeg

The kitchen table dominated the room
Long, bleached, four two inch wooden panels of pine
detracting even from the ancient range

we set it with two vases of flowers 
Salad, sausages, fried potatoes 
Cheese and wine

mother, father
brother, sister
a family on the cusp of turning

Through the thick cottage walls 
and small windows, fingers of sun reached in 
Spreading sea, salt, and scrubby grass

My tummy gurgled in glee
at the pitch of conversation
forming familiar patterns

around a kitchen table
after so long in silence 
staring alone at the TV


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