im chaonaí uaigneach nach mór go bhfeicim an lá
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.
From Selected Poems, published by Viking/Gallery, 1991. Copyright © 1991 by Derek Mahon. All rights reserved. Used with permission.