From her mouth. It gathered its small, soft body and leapt
forward, up and out. And then it was gone. She knew
because of the dark hollow in her chest, like the place a woodpecker makes,
keeps making, until it’s emptied the wood of food
and moved on. She didn’t try to stop it, because she didn’t know
what it was; what came from her mouth
looked like a white moth, the kind that eats wool, so she clapped her hands,
chased it to the window, pulled the shade down
and pretended that was that. It’s surprising it stayed
as long as it did, because most of all, she made it wait. She made it wait
while she beat a dead horse, hit the nail on the head, drove her point home,
split hairs, threw fat on the fire, killed birds with a stone.
Naturally, it grew tired of waiting,
tried to tell her, made a few practice runs, beat its wings;
she could feel it, don’t tell me she couldn’t, she could hear
the wings beat. She still feels it, like when you lose an arm or leg
and it aches but there’s nothing there
to ache. That’s how hollow she feels. She talks a lot, laughs
with her mouth open wide. Not everyone knows why,
but I do: she’s making a place for it to come back to.
On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.
On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay -
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.
I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that’s known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May
On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay -
When the angel woos the clay he’d lose his wings at the dawn of day.
One of my favorite songs of all time. Kavanagh poem + traditional Irish melody + Van Morrison = Perfection.