The Pacific at your door was wilder and colder
than my notion of the Pacific
and that was perfect, for I would have rotted
beside the luke-warm ocean I imagined.
Yet no way was its cold ascetic
as our monk-fished, snowed-into Atlantic;
no beehive hut for you
on the abstract sands of Malibu --
it was early Mondrian and his dunes
misting towards the ideal forms
though the wind and sea neighed loud
as wind and sea noise amplified.
I was there in the flesh
where I’d imagined I might be
and underwent the bluster of the day:
but why would it not come home to me?
Atlantic storms have flensed the cells
on the Great Skellig, the steps cut in the rock
I never climbed
between the graveyard and the boatslip
are welted solid to my instep.
But to rear and kick and cast that shoe --
beside that other western sea
far from the Skelligs, and far, far
from the suck of puddled, wintry ground,
our footsteps filled with blowing sand.
“Remembering Malibu” from “Station Island” by Seamus Heaney. Copyright Copyright 1985 by Seamus Heaney. Reprinted by kind permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux Inc.