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Achill

I lie and imagine a first light gleam in the bay
  After one more night of erosion and nearer the grave,
Then stand and gaze from the window at break of day
  As a shearwater skims the ridge of an incoming wave;
And I think of my son a dolphin in the Aegean,
  A sprite among sails knife-bright in a seasonal wind,
And wish he were here where currachs walk on the ocean
  To ease with his talk the solitude locked in my mind.

I sit on a stone after lunch and consider the glow
  Of the sun through mist, a pearl bulb containèdly fierce;
A rain-shower darkens the schist for a minute or so
  Then it drifts away and the sloe-black patches disperse.
Croagh Patrick towers like Naxos over the water
  And I think of my daughter at work on her difficult art
And wish she were with me now between thrush and plover,
  Wild thyme and sea-thrift, to lift the weight from my heart.

The young sit smoking and laughing on the bridge at evening
  Like birds on a telephone pole or notes on a score.
A tin whistle squeals in the parlour, once more it is raining,
  Turf-smoke inclines and a wind whines under the door;
And I lie and imagine the lights going on in the harbor
  Of white-housed Náousa, your clear definition at night,
And wish you were here to upstage my disconsolate labour
  As I glance through a few thin pages and switch off the light.


-Derek Mahon

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