birches in october

WestWords Perfect Pair 01.09.2014

Irish poet, author and editor Mary O’Donnell was born in Co. Monaghan and is author of eleven books, both poetry and fiction. Her poetry collections include Reading The Sunflowers In September, The Place Of Miracles and, more recently, The Ark Builders published in 2009 by the UK’s Arc Publications. O’Donnell has presented several series of poetry programmes for RTE Radio and is a member of Aosdana, the multidisciplinary organisation of Irish artists, administered by the Arts Council. Here, she writes of the:

By Mary O’Donnell

Trees announce our history.
Layers of air pass over,
Rings of ancestors pressed within.
Branches curve up. Grey, sparing,
Nautical. Life is hard, they say,
But there are consolations: seek
What covers you, the canvas
That sheathes the hull,
Your own colours and textures.

The trees would blaze again if they
Were painted. How they would speak
To the men, the women, who carry
The load of so many seasons,
Who wait for a clean fall of snow.
Pliant, branches that dipped down
In summer now rise above themselves,
Intent on voyage. Leaves faithful
To the cooling sky, drop invisibly
During the night, nudging out
To the curling, noiseless tips. Fallen.
Another season driven out to sea,
Leaving land, making room.
Time folding over.