Washed Ashore

Every month or two,

Some merciful vagary of current or tide,

Carries a body to shingle shore or sandy slob.

From Lough Corrib and the Galway river to the Claddagh Basin,

Washed ashore.

In off Blackrock with the white horses of Galway Bay,

Washed ashore.

Posters along the Eglinton Canal,

Knots of family and friends scrutinising its still, slow waters.

Questions in the Corrib Village and outside the Hardiman Library:

Have You Seen This Man?

From Lough Corrib and the Galway river to the Claddagh Basin,

Washed ashore.

In off Blackrock with the white horses of Galway Bay,

Washed ashore.

You have felt the black water calling you from time to time.

How easy it would be to slip into the cascades below the Salmon Weir Bridge.

The turbid, peaty ferment would swallow you up,

And you would be no more by the time you had been shunted down to O’Brien’s Bridge.

From Lough Corrib and the Galway river to the Claddagh Basin,

Washed ashore.

In off Blackrock with the white horses of Galway Bay,

Washed ashore.

There have been too many young men, dreaming of peace,

Of a false, fools’ paradise after a watery end.

The sirens’ song gushing and roaring from river banks, bridge abutments and weirs,

Calls to and beguiles the despair-maddened, rudderless young pilots.

How can we tell them to follow Odysseus,

To let us tie them to the mast, to ride the storm of this seduction until it has passed,

And then find home?

From Lough Corrib and the Galway river to the Claddagh Basin,

Washed ashore.

In off Blackrock with the white horses of Galway Bay,

Washed ashore.

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About ucronin

Microbiologist, brewer, writer, fan of James Joyce, guitar player and gardener, U. Cronin was born in the county town of Ennis, Co. Clare. He's spent much of his adult years moving country — between Spain and Ireland — and at present he is to be found back in his native town. Author of five novels and working on a sixth, U. is back in the lab and engaging his passion for looking for bugs using very bright lasers. Let's hope it turns out well!
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