by Dermot J. Archer

Sometimes something shapes itself
into a memento, displaces us,
the hard swallow, prolonged stare,
we’re back again with God rest them.
With the living it’s usually different
we bridge the world in imagination
crossing to meet distant loved ones.

On this dote Donegal day
sky languorous and limpid as a lullabied baby
a transatlantic flight furrows the harebell blue,
not a rainbow, a white bow,
at its end not gold but a crock of love
to share with kith and kin in New York or Atlanta.


Fiddle bows keened potatoes bealing black here
over a century and a half back,
friends and families finding
twill-woven love a fight —
love forced cemetery cold
in waked-cottages the night before departure.

Mementoes, precious as miraculous medals
of battery passengers on coffin ships to America,
loomed skeletal for the lost left behind
as they hurkled along a Famine road
hoking out rocks
or were moved closer to the mist in the Workhouse
to their own journey’s end —
the lime-burnt Black Wall.

bealing: festering /pus from a sore
hurkle: walk with a stoop
hoke: dig out