A Second Eden
Our nightly walk on sandstone cliffs
Seems done, when Garryowen stops,
This time to sniff a clump of ferns.
I gaze as far as sky meets sea.
Beyond this grey Pacific shore.
I think of islands farther west
And others south of here,
This ocean all that lies between.
The Polynesians, ages past,
Once navigated miles of sea
In fleets of flimsy hand-hewn craft,
Without a compass, gyroscope,
Beholding things along the way,
The rhythms of the earth and sky,
No modern sailor sees or hears.
Invested with that knowledge once,
What made man break the pagan link
With earth, make blind the hidden eye?
Was erring mankind dispossessed,
The generations set adrift
In some lamented, far off time
Were we cast from the garden twice?
I wait alone near Cummen Strand
To hear the chapel bell strike ten,
Her sprightly step upon the stair,
To hold her closely once again,
The bird that flew into my hand.
That woman "all good people" scorn,
Deceived her husband Samhain night,
And stayed with me from dark till dawn,
Her body etched in candlelight,
A skin no jewel dare adorn.
A sallow priest soon called her in
And warned her of the chapel bell
That tolled our love that night at ten,
Described the metes and bounds of hell,
The punishments for mortal sin.
I know I'll catch no further sight
Of her out late near Cummen Strand,
The girl who slipped away one time,
And passed from darkness into light,
That bird that flew into my hand.
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