“Thin Places” and other poems by Eithne Lannon

Thin Places 

The wild meadow weave, the strand, 
         places of late summer, autumn,
 
a stone skimming water, suspended 
        in air, its slow motion glide punctuated 

by the drop, touch, rise of a ghostly presence,
          this wary hesitation between water 

and stone, mysterious as the rift between 
     music notes in air, unsettling the familiar light 

which shudders again with tiny rainbow bubbles 
   holding air-drops in. And then the final slide over 

gravity’s edge, into polished bottomless depths, 
        beyond the belly-aching threshold⎯

dropping, ever dropping, into the quiet 
     whispering, the unspeakable tenderness.

Binn Éadair

I have waited through the long winter grey
for the slow clean curve of spring,

the sun a warm breath on my neck,
its lips glossed with a damp breeze.

Far below, the murmurings of wind and water
weave a familiar braid of intimacy,

the whole of the blue sky is stretched wide,
light falls on us, a lovers’ blanket spread on sand.

This moment is already time’s fugitive;
sweet rain pooled in a dockweed’s leafy

pocket, the soft unwrapping of downy buds,
moss gathered in a hollowed bowl of earth—

like a container that holds and pours,
we are filled and emptied.

To be lifted then into the loose
hem of the breeze, cast out

over the spooling cliff, to drop
like a bird, free-fall into the wind.

 

Earth Music

I will lead you by the hand to the hushed hum
of the gentle oak, an evening breeze sounding

shivers into leaves, quiet turbulence in the air
and the gravity of sound settling on mossed stone.

I hear its tongue-lick in ivy the way a bat hears
the silhouette of trees, or a whale the shape of its home,

touching the skin like sound braille, tiny neck hairs
startled to its presence; earth music in the trees

and in the stony wind, atoms of light trembling in tiny
dust particles where body-bones separate, flesh disappears.

Between heart-pulse and light’s shadow-touch,
I will lead you to the quiet abundance of silence,

the wide emptying of voiceless things; earth’s pulse,
seamless and somewhere beyond absence.

 

Translation

Early evening, the sea all silk and copper-clad,
russet seams threading air, holding nothing
 
but lingering light. Poised on the glazed edge
of the estuary, a heron; stem-like and spectral, folded
 
into the soft grey petals of his shadow. Overhead,
dark-bellied geese fly in low wavering lines,
 
flock to the beginning of memories they don’t recall
from a place they reclaim without guidance—
 
here, clouds are porous with light, lisping vowels
and tongue-flickers lapping twilight—while westward,
 
through the woods, a wash of starlings erupts
from the trees, sweeping murmurations,
 
the chorus of bodies dips and dissolves, rises
into dust formations. Now the heron loosens
 
unwieldy wings, lifts like vapour,
like stillness taking flight.
 
It’s hard not to believe in this; birdsound and birdshape,
two seagulls wing-surfing the ragged cliff-spine,
 
entirely consistent, faithfully articulate—
what we don’t have words for may still exist.
 
In the cool breath of evening, tidal swamp-sands
swell over stones, shadows slide out of things.
 
Motionless again, the heron
is zen master,
 
a hanging bell holding through the dusk
of the estuary,
 
the slow unravelling of this moment
every other moment fits inside.

Moon

Take the river’s curl, the ocean’s wave, 
      the never-ending trees, the sway of a meadow,
        the roll of the sun, the scattered stepping stars.

And take last month’s silver bud of moon
    now come full to the sky, her mouth is wide and open,
      white lips brimming with a soft wet light,

month by month, she gives her widening
    emptiness to the earth, holds the planet in her orbit,
       washes ocean after ocean over sand: 

I stretch out my arms and reach for her,
    hold hands with her rhythm, climb into her open
      wound, my blood is lapping at her perpetual pull,

I sleep in the mantle of her tidal pulse, slip
   the ring of her light onto my finger. At the last hour
     of fullness, I wade inside her alluvial silt,

feel desire awash in my gut. Lost inside
    her wholeness, carved into her darkening spine,
      I am swallowed into goddess light.

Thin Places and other poems are © Eithne Lannon

Eithne Lannon is a native of Dublin. Her poems have been included in various publications such as The North, Skylight 47, The Ogham Stone, The Lea-Green Down Anthology and Boyne Berries. On-line in Ireland, the UK, US and Canada, she has work published on Headstuff, Artis Natura, Sheila-na-Gig, Barehands and Punch Drunk Press among others.

Her work has been listed in various competitions such as the Bray Literary Festival, the Dermot Healy competition and Galway University Hospital Poems for Patience. She was winner in 2018 of the Ballyroan Poetry Day Competition and Runner-up in Against the Grain this year. Her work was also Highly Commended in the Blue Nib Winter/Spring Chapbook 2018 and commended in the Jonathan Swift Awards.

 

Eithne’s first poetry collection Earth Music will be published with Turas Press in April 2019.

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