Wednesday, June 18, 1997

A POEM FOR NEIL O’NEILL’S BIRTHDAY

A POEM FOR NEIL O’NEILL’S BIRTHDAY

1. Dear Niáll, a chara,
For this day, roses will bloom,
pearls will swoon with nacreous intentions
and the solstice sun will linger
a little longer on the horizon
moving towards its zenith—
twinned night’s short breath in your ear.
And the sons of Uísna will once again walk
with Déirdre in their midst
for Niáll of the Nine Hostages,
and Niáll GlubDubh, your namesake,
the champions are with us still.

Níl eagla gaothe, have no fear of high winds…
For in the mirrored existence of creation
all things are repeated—from cells to souls,
of grace approaching paradise at the speed of light.
No terra nullis, but the birth of consciousness.
If love is a drowning in flood waters
then let me be the flood. Let me be the offshore winds…
I am come of Ireland’s rocky shore to find you.
You, a descendent of high kings,
were in a hurry to be born in time for tea,
it seems, circled Braveheart’s monument in utero,
but a traffic jam in Paisley returned you home,
and you arrived blue in the face,
tasting freedom in your first breath of air
in a bedroom on High Street, in Johnstone, Scotland,
your auntie Cathy holding you skyward for approval.
And all the roads rose up with you,
the wind was always at your back
to bear you to the hollows of this final shore.

Guncuíreach tú chupa tharís le slaínte agus sonas.
May your cup be always be overbrimming
this day and all the days of your lives
with the grace that is held deep within,
not in reserve, but in abundance.
Drink deep from it,
let it intoxicate you
forever. 

JUNE 18, 1997

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