Poem of the week: The Etymology of Isolation
A new work by Paddy Bushe
No man is an Iland, intire of itself.
Outside our window, above the wind-flecked
Bay between its two enclosing headlands,
A dozen gannets circle, now and then plunging
And struggling up to wheel and plunge again.
I am contemplating isolation, its meanings
In the here and now and then and again,
Contemplating that isolate shares its Latin
Island roots with insulate, that each one is also
A peece of the Continent, a part of the maine.
Isolation warms itself towards insulation.
I think of our son, whose house on the small
Peninsula across the bay I can just make out,
And who drops food and news and comfort
To our insulated door, like a boatman judging
A quick now or never surge to a storm-isolated
Island slipway, quickly heaving up supplies
One-handed, the other on the tiller steering
A curve astern. He smiles, waves. Half-joking,
Wholly grateful in this semi-isolation, I offer
A coinage: peninsulated. And we’ll live with that.
March 29th, 2020
Paddy Bushe’s most recent collection is Double Vision (Dedalus Press)