Petalwort

for Michael Viney

You want your ashes to swirl along the strand
At Thallabaun – amongst clockwork, approachable,
Circumambulatory sanderlings, crab shells,
Bladderwrack, phosphorescence at spring tide –

Around the burial mound’s wind-and-wave inspired
Vanishing act – through dowel-holes in the wreck –
Into bottles but without a message, only
Self-effacement in sand, additional eddies.

There’s no such place as heaven, so let it be
The Carricknashinnagh shoal in or Caher
Island where you honeymooned in a tent
Amid the pilgrim-fisherman’s stations,

Your spillet disentangling and trailing off
Into the night, a ghost on every hook – dab
and flounder, thorny skate – at ebb tide you
Kneeling on watery sand to haul them in.

Let us choose for the wreath a flower so small
Even you haven’t spotted it on the dune-slack
Between Claggan and Lackakeely its rosette –
Petalwort: snail snack, angel’s nosegay.

Michael Longley

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