To Exile

for Deirdre

My life has been yours from an early age
when first you keened a plainsong to my years,
a prelude starred with lust and shot with rage,
an aftermath of silence and slow tears.
For when with quickened step I took the floor
I tripped before intolerance alone,
to murmur catchwords on a piece of straw.
For who can detract from what the sun has shown?

But light cannot reveal a way to live.
Its freedom fails – with painful force I know
from this ingratitude is no release.
I live to leave – and everywhere I go
to take in torment what I cannot give,
and sacrifice for love, and wait for peace.

Deirdre was an older cousin of mine I got to know about that time. Her life seemed full of a searing quality I had not met before – the poem I suppose was an attempt to comprehend it in some way. I’m sure if she saw it she wasn’t impressed.

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