Poem of the Week: The Flaggy Shore by Mary O’Donnell

In memory of Seamus Heaney

i.m. Seamus Heaney

You pull in on a September morning,
making time to ease the journey east, watch
three women in the white-ringed shallows.
Their plangent murmurs rise across a bay
where light and water drift to the horizon,
uncontested by wind, the sandpiper’s
mewling morse, knotted wrack,
the ochre sanded cliffs. At first
your mind still tilts at memory
of an evening things came loose,
a dire subaqueous rubble, but now
you find your shoreline — untroubled,
wild and in between. Softly, this place
captures tight and clean, you wade
into the slate and white, in no time
stroking off and out to cross the bay.

Mary O'Donnell is a poet, novelist, lecturer and member of Aosdána. She held a writer's residency at the Irish College in Leuven last October. A chapbook of new poetry is forthcoming this year from Southword Editions, Cork. She has also completed a new novel