Dec. 28, 2010: REMEMBERING MALIBU, for Brian Moore (Seamus Heaney)

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.
Happy holidays!

Oh, this one is by Seamus Heaney. ~mjl


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.


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