Tobi Cogswell. Inishbofin.

16 Oct

     for Donnie, James and Bronagh

This is an island owned by wind,
with whistling chimneys and blowing
grasses. Where the blues and blacks
of the bay offer commerce, and the odd plaque
of tragedy—sea against somebody’s son.

Where the priest rides the ferry on Saturday.
An afternoon sermon ensures return to his own
congregation for Sunday. Where flowers explode
purple and gold, and clothes blow sideways on lines.

Where a climb atop any hill views water, sheep
and horses bony as life-sized pebbles.
A strengthened resolve to best any hardship
and many a story to prove it—in the pub, in the fields.
Guinness on draught and coal in the bucket.

A quiet island until you listen.
A family island, with stories of other families,
other islands, and how they all came to be here.
How they stay. Strong men and dear women.
They sing about leaving but they stay.
Now you have tea with their children,
watch their little ones in oiled jackets and rubber boots.

The boats. Trace the embossing on a ruined skiff
to learn it is named after a saint, not a woman.
The barns. Tin ceilings blind in today’s sun,
tomorrow they will play concertos in unforgiving rain.
The textures. Rocky, boggy. The corner of a house
worn away to reveal stone, the same stone that borders fields.
Cotton and clover. The dry brown of striped paths
through green. The dry brown of outbound tide.

A wondrous island. Bone-chilling cold, but still well-mannered
and welcoming. They sing about leaving but they stay.

One Response to “Tobi Cogswell. Inishbofin.”

  1. vinita18 October 16, 2014 at 03:28 #

    Superb! Simply superb!

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