a quiet spot

Derek Mahon

We tire of cities in the end:
the whirr and blur of it, so long
your friend, grow repetitious
and you start to choke on signage, carbon monoxide,
the hard look. You always
knew it would come down
to a dozy seaside town —

not really in the country, no,
but within reach of the
countryside, somewhere alive
to season, wind and tide, far
field and wind farm. ‘Wrong
life,’ said Adorno, ‘can’t be lived rightly.’ The
right place
is a quiet spot like this

where an expanding river
still trout-rich, from the dewy
of Cork, still fertile in a
morning mist.
So, do you pause to
congratulate yourself out here
at the continental shelf,
far from the hysteria,

on the perfect work-life
balancing act
you’ve found after so many a
fugitive year
of travel? If so, let the pause
be brief. Gaia demands your love, the
patient earth your airy
sneakers tread expects
humility and care.

It’s time now to go back at last
beyond irony and slick
depreciation, past hedge and fencing to a
clearer vision, time to create a
future from the past,
tune out the babbling radio
and listen to the leaves.


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