They have seeped into me
invisible dyes that will never leave.
Washing in the river they are the river;
the bank, the froth, the rock, the pebble,
the reeds, the gurgle, the swish, the fish,
the cormorant, the heron,
the roc – a passage of Sartre on the rapids,
Goethe’s sorrow in driftwood,
the protracted silence between gongs of the bell.
I saw an otter sluiced in water
sleek as a seal silky with sunlight
diving and twisting as an eel
and he had the same skin.
Searching in the darkness, the submarine,
knowledge is an impression
a cloud-like fog clearing, a day-dream,
a knowing without knowing how or why
an instinctive mastery.
East of Eden
Autumn in the city of a thousand red lights
from afar a bed in the sapphire blue night
and I saw the ghost of James Dean pass my way,
smoke a cigarette just east of Eden.
And the moon could be rising
and we would be riding the stars
a million miles away,
far enough away to be alone,
to be solitary and blue like the night.
Blue like freedom.
I could take your hand in mine
walking through the stars,
the million stars,
the million pretty stars
and they’d never be as your eyes,
your far away eyes,
your eyes of a galaxy,
a distant place.
All your whispers would be light,
beams to trip the heart
and we would fall like heroes
into the city,
into the city like a bed,
an earthly paradise,
before the sun came up
somewhere east of Eden.
How the West is Won
The cowboy looked like The Lone Ranger,
Billy the Kid, or Wyatt Earp,
shiny badge pinned to brown suede waistcoat,
black Stetson pointed tip down as he flung away a cigar.
Everyone wanted to be like him,
on his left hip a holster from which he pulled a silver,
heavy Colt Peacemaker, the Colt .45,
the gun that won the West.
What hope did my Sioux friend have,
his long raven hair blowing on the prairie?
He carried a tomahawk on his belt,
a bow and arrow slung across his back.
He wore feathers in his hair, ate hunted
buffalo and wore buffalo hide in winter.
The wolf ran with him under the full moon,
the fish in the streams came to the softness of his hands.
Poems Copyright © Orla Fay 2023