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