Poetry Archive

Mile 11

          for Frank Haines,
          Connemara 2006


A new tree grows
at mile 11
near the crest
of the hill
rising from the
Maam Valley
marking the place
where in our
surging tide one fell
we did not know him
but felt his breath
on our backs
saw his shadow
at our sides
his legs and lungs
aching like ours
felt his pulse
in our hearts
which we would have
shared if we could.

Angels had gathered
at his side and one said
he's not breathing
so they gave him
their breath
and others said
stay with us and
touched his heart
with their hands
while our tide rolled on
streaming blues and
yellows, grays
reds and whites
while a cool rain fell
on the green pastures
black rock fences
that ran straight up
the hills around us
and sheep grazing
contentedly on the grass.

A new tree grows
at mile 11
planted by those
who knew him
nourished in the
black earth by
rain and tears
its roots struggle
to secure their grasp
reaching deeper
into the earth
life from life in
the endless tide
and he who fell
growing stronger
in our memories
by the passages
we share through
all our Connemaras.

                   Terry Bacon


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