The Tuesday Poem: November Day, For Joan MacKernan

Then, there is prayer.
The act of praying, of being inside the tree
and kneeling down inside the tree.

Of being still as a still pond
and being inside the pond.
Lying down with water in prayer.
Then, there’s the habit of rhythm
body seconds, 0.9 of a second
pumping the prayer
and there’s a bowing down inside the body
of prayer, being inside the life
is prayer.
Being there.

Birds lift from the wet earth
unfurl into cloud, soar across the sky
and I wonder if I wait here will wind lift me,
carry me as light above the land?

Evening light creeps in.
Shadows spread across the paving.
A wren pulls cotton
from a rag hanging by the studio door.
And that long shadow is not my son
but a tree’s arm spreading,
slipping into his body with a familiar sway.

For a second, I see him out there
against the weathered timber.


Diary Entry: To my mother.
Winter. Water stills.
Everything falls inward.
The well is full of stars
and the night sky
is a constellation of swallows.

Jo Slade is a painter and poet living in Limerick.

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