Something pastoral, with Achill Island in mind.


Time and time again she has
Said that she will only ever
Swim in corries, as though
There were a hierarchy of waters,
As though the cirque were high art
And all the world’s pools and rivers
only drivel. She’ll only stroke
What the ice has scoured, only
What’s vertiginous and exact,
Only cold, old water. There, she says,
She can open herself up,
Like the land had once shuddered
To the broad, course tonguing
Of the glacier. She says up there the water’s
Tighter, and tenses round the neck
Like a torc, then ripples out,
So that my head, she says, is like
the one pinned foot
Of a widening compass. I make
Concentrics, she says, I’m
A proof of nature’s tiniest geometry.
Even the scree clings parlously on,
Lest it disturb the science behind it all.
She says it’s like slipping into love.

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