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Medbh McGuckian

Night Journey of the Solar Bark

It feels to me like an oblique place.
The earth hath been iron in this land
And the heavens brass this summer:
A fall of all the back hair
Links me to the skin of his heart.

It is changing but it is not us,
The place where we once were children,
That small part of the world where we
Were formerly at home: they bury him
In the soil from which he has sprung.

There were door to door movements,
The space headway, time headway
Of the speed-sensitive articulated lorry,
My shallower landward rhythms in the bus lane,
My dwell times at a station stop.

My journey was much less tidal
Than the earthquake in the South
With the wan sky bending its nocturnal
Unhinged rainbow in the sunless light,
Lemony moment as pale as silver.

Blotches of doomed yellow streak
The ancient ice in a zone of stones
That may or may not be a cemetery.
A few more carefully chosen handholds
And he will boost himself over the lip

Of the rocks, thrusting, as he does so,
The small twigs inward. Where and what
Is this sandy path between the shingle
And the dune? His negation of behaving,
Struck middair and driven downward

Like the shuttlecock in badminton.
I am cruel in putting it this way, but it is true,
Sweet leftover, sweet sealed disabled lips.
Little prepares us for your glassy
Ironic remove, the two or three

Words of lead that dropped so deep
And keep weighing. Rapturous, strange
Death that got the world afloat
And the climate weirding to a four-degree,
The drinking of two exquisite wines at once.

How I miss your written voice,
Your throaty measures quoting
From the intense reds in the sky now
Whether the joining of your hands
Will be sacred. The passage is not really

Mysterious, occurs at a lull
In the skeletal motion, where he is at his most
Sepulchrally supernatural. The upper voices
Go their own way – the dead have been disturbed
By une mort tres douce, by a strong

Walk-up window. All attempts
To fear with or for him are cut short
By this too crowded elsewhere, this inaccessible
Peace, the re-enwombing after there is a
North, of the untroubled petal.