Sunday, June 29, 2014

"I was a voice."

A month ago I received Eavan Boland's new book entitled A Poet's Dublin published by Carcanet Press.  A city I love and a poet I admire.

Today, I found a moment and the stillness within to sit down and begin reading the poems. It has been a disturbing, unsettling few weeks.  Too much pondering over unfinished projects. Too many opportunities to allow the old self-doubts to roost in my heart and cast dark clouds on my spirit.

My growing-up years were spent either on the coast of California or on an island in the Pacific Ocean. I knew and understood the sea and its power on me. It was not until I was in my 40's on my first trip to Ireland that I discovered the deep pull and deep peace of a river. It was this river that told me I had returned home.  And I had not even been aware I was lost.  But until that moment I had not been paying attention.
Photography © Denise Sallee 2010

The last stanza of Eavan Boland's poem "Anna Liffey" shot straight to my heart today. Though her poem is about Dublin's great River Liffey she ends by reminding me why it was it took a river to save me all those years ago.

In the end
It will not matter
That I was a woman. I am sure of it.
The body is a source. Nothing more.
There is a time for it. There is a certainty
About the way it seeks its own dissolution.
Consider rivers.
They are always en route to
Their own nothingness. From the first moment
They are going home. And so
When language cannot do it for us,
Cannot make us know love will not diminsh us,
There are these phrases
Of the ocean
To console us.
Particular and unafraid of their completion.
In the end
Everything that burdened and distinguished me
Will be lost in this:
I was a voice.
           -From "Anna Liffey" by Eavan Boland

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