A little shout-out to reader Ali Najmi, who spent Christmas day on
Malibu beach. Seriously, who does that? This poem is about CA and yet
has a nip of winter in it. The dedication is to Irish-Canadian
novelist Brian Moore. If you want a quiet, melancholic, domestic
northern Irish drama, his “The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne” is
highly recommended. If you’re more into international intrigue and
post-Holocaust Jewish-Nazi spy chases, “The Statement” is fantastic.
Oh, this one is by Seamus Heaney. ~mjl
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.