A poem from Michael Feeney Callan’s 2013 collection An Argument for Sin
23 Miles from Dublin
We were 23 miles from Dublin under the larch trees
with a bluebird ahead of the bonnet navigating us
and an apple on the road orange by the green
conversant in the ancient language of laughter
we talked about of all but us and the moment when
our hands touched was a lifetime.
Everything we know is wrong, the world is wrong
and the laughing light in your eyes announced
that even Einstein’s wrong:
there is something faster than light; it’s called thought
and when your thought lay on mine, stranger, fear fell
and the bluebird took us off tarmac and into the mystic.
The buckwheat on the beech mast, the crimson seed
the furry-stemmed poppy raving in the meadowy noon
the grandmother boulder by the stream cream-crowned by
the silver-beaded bouncing gurgling damsel tresses of
drinking water; I would drink you, I said, deranged
like the sleeping cows 23 miles from Dublin.
But our time will be up, I said, and we’ll face the city again
the great remove of bricks and illness, our depths
where lollies adorn just graves, where neglected children weep
and the old are forgotten; the stones of war, the hospital kings,
the subatomic horrors of the summer on a stopwatch,
those things that live in our terrible unconscious world.
You took the map and drew an egg or so I thought
an egg round Dublin and we were here, our highest selves
atop the egg, another laugh, or is it graph with a stated aim?
we’ll break this egg? we’ll look this egg? we’ll scramble egg? –
to make nutritious the delight of our shared great day?
No, you said. This egg’s the map of now and her, our life.
You held Dublin between your forefinger and thumb,
a funny imagining on your lap, with the wind off the field
it was time, you said, to go back, but back neologism,
not to the home or heart but to the start and find the happy turning so
I turned the car to take on history, where words go to school
to pay their way, measuring what lives between her thumb and forefinger.