Great hosts of basking sharks and shoals of mackerel,
like breathren in the one Creation, swam
together in the seas around Loop Head Point,
free of those long-standing habits of predation
whereby the larger fellow eats the small.
In Kilkee church, two girls saw statues move.
Lights appeared and disappeared and reappeared
from Doonaghboy to Newtown and the dead were seen
perched upon ditchbanks with their turnip lamps by night.
In Moveen, cattle sang, crows barked, and kittens flew.
The tidal pools at Goleen filled with blood
and all the common wisdoms were undone
by signs and wonders everywhere. Argyle
wondered were they miracles or omens?
God’s handiwork or some bedevilment
called up or down on him by that avenging priest
he’d lately tangled with? Either way, retreat
was the word that formed in him. A fortnight’s rest
at Dingle, fast and prayer to purge and cleanse himself
among those holy hermits there who never
once, for all their vast privations, ever
saw or heard a thing or apprehended God
abounding in their stars or stones or seas.
And for all they hadn’t witnessed, yet believed.
Thomas Lynch is a writer and funeral director. He lives in Michigan and West Clare, Ireland.
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