Prothalamion

by Michael Durack

Ceaseless sweep of big muddy water,
carry the soul of Magnolia State,
spirit of forest and cotton field,
soul of Caucasian, Negro, Choctaw;
spirit of Jackson, Natchez, Starkville,
borne by dugout and paddlesteamer
past bluff and levee and delta silt
down to the Gulf of Mexico.

And, spirit of Shannon, wend and surge
by long meadow and royal fort;
glide underneath the white bird’s hill,
and carry a tale of Si and Árd Ri,
of Norse and Norman, of Gael and Gall
with barge and cruiser and sailing skiff
past Diarmuid and Gráinne’s silken bed
to the yawning sea by Lovers’ Leap.

Beneath white horses of boundless ocean
currents course, eddy and mingle
waters of Clare and cool Tipperary
caressing the tide of warm Mississippi
ferried by Gulf Stream and Atlantic Drift.