Friday Poem


Though you can see for miles
across the lake to the mountain,
and though you can imagine
all that lies beyond, ridge
after ridge and the rivers
joining to make their slow,
swollen progress to the sea;
though you think you can say
how far the sunlight travels
to wash the ears of ivy
and make the hawkweed blaze,
to warm the stone's cold shoulder
and warm the wary heart;
though you think as you swim
how you used to swim with her,
how you'd lie on your backs
and press your feet together
and race each other back to shore;
though you've reached, you think,
some idea of distances involved,
how things are so far apart
yet one and the same—
it will be, you will find,
as nothing to the distance
opened by the loon's cry
that first night; and in the wake
of that cry, the silence.

by Mark Roper
from Landing Places: Immigrant Poets in Ireland,
Dedalus Press, Dublin, 2010