Pagosa Springs Artists

Driving to Clifden

One careens on the left of lumpy lanes,

winds through heaving verdant hills

speckled with scattered homesteads

sprinkled over green fields stitched together

with shaggy hedgerows and mottled graystone fences.


Overhead, variegated clouds break intermittently

revealing a benevolent baby-blue Irish sky.

Stretched upward from ancient stone walls

hugging our road, trees curl over the way,

a protective bower laced with a flurry of viridian

shadings in the shifting shafts of sunlight.


The road dives steeply down a slash

in the rocky burren, turning instinctively

toward the sea. Offshore, curtains of rain

dance like twisting spirits atop the chop,

their nimble feet frisking toward us.


We scurry around a looming coastal headland,

rain skittering wantonly against the windshield,

blurring edges of the world outside our windows.

Abruptly, clouds part in a luminous breakthrough,

afternoon sun glinting off the wet asphalt as we brush past

storm-driven blackface sheep hovering at the roadside.


Subtly flowering heather now swarms

countless scattered granite boulders

and tiny, shiny bogponds by our wayside.

The distant dark humps of the Twelve Bens

shimmer surreally in misty evening sunlight.

Around a dusky bend in the road, a tight cluster

of pastel buildings huddles in the distance,

clinging rakishly between two church spires

to the bluff above a tidal river that reflects

a setting sun sliding into a polychrome bay.


first published in Storyteller Magazine

also published in FLOOR OF THE SKY Chapbook

also published in Poetry Atlas

©2003 Bonnie Manion


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