Remembering Malibu, for Brian Moore

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.