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Contents Page: December 31, 2010, vol 6 no 4

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Adelaide B. Shaw

 

Inishmor

The Aran Islands, Ireland

The ferry docks at Kilronen on the Island of Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. Pony carts and traps and taxi minivans wait for the arrival of visitors.  We take a pony trap painted in green and deep mahogany pulled by a sturdy Connemara pony sporting a green halter. A lean, wrinkled old man at the reins takes us to where we shall spend the night, the Kilmurvey House in Kilmurvey.

a slow clip-clop
rising above the wind
the old man’s song

Our driver points out the small rock walled fields, several to a homestead, and the carefully placed spaces in the walls to allow the wind to pass through.  He slows down and crosses himself when we pass a stone cross along the road.

lost at sea
or gone to the new world
prayers for the dead

The Kilmurvey House, built over 200 years ago, is a large and impressive stone farmhouse.  Beyond it is Dun Aonghasa, a prehistoric fort on a cliff above the Atlantic.  Stone walls outline a rough path leading to the top.

half-way there
a pause to measure
desire and strength

We turn back and explore a closer and more recent ruin, a seventh century church.

broken stone altar
in the wild flowers
a pile of trash

Stone and more stone, everywhere we pass, bulging through the ground, forming houses, stacked into walls, along the roads, separating fields and houses, representing hundreds of generations of labor required to clear the land needed for building and for grazing livestock.

wild blackberry vines
holding together stone walls-
the bitter fruit

Dark clouds blow in, drop a shower, blow out again. 

the rainbow’s arc
spanning several fields
at which end is gold?

Kilmurvey has only a few shops and one café, all of which close early.  There is not much to do at night, which is fine with us.

Inishmor night
the rush of wind
makes no sound

passing clouds
a wink from the moon
before bed

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