There is a path I remember, and I see
It often, hidden in my dreams,
I feel the smell of it as it smelt in high
Summer, before the memory fades,
And it was the smell of the soil
And of the wave, beside the sea
As it laughed, dazzling, beneath
Our winding way, as we crept through
An orchard, hardly worthy of the name,
For here the trees are weary
And scarcely grow, clinging on to life
Wizened, old women craning over
Their bubbling cauldrons, the air
Heady and thick with the busy buzzing
Of the crickets, the stench of the
Vegetation in the omnipotent summer sun.
But in the orchard all is cold
And the flurry of the day slows, matching
The dismay of the salt lashed trees
As they despair of hope
They will never grow again but we,
We shall finally break through the
Crooked branches, skipping into
The light once more, and we are back
On track, on our way, to the lighthouse,
The lighthouse out across the bay
We saw it, from the windows of the
Great white hotel, and from its gardens,
Slipping, sloping down towards the cliffs
Stilly tumbling, as the bees hummed,
Drawn to the pots of jam to draw them
Away, but we ignored them, and traced
A line to the lighthouse, like it were some
Heathen icon, a siren, a mermaid,
Strapped to the rocks, pulling us in
And we shall go, we shall go to the lighthouse
Today. And today, the sun burns bright
Too bright, they’ve put in me in a
Purple sunhat, my pale skin caked in white
I must be protected from the sun
And her promiscuous rays
We walk single file, it feels like we’ve been
Walking for days, and my young feet are
Tired, and they ache, are we nearly there
Yet, that mounting refrain, although,
Imperceptibly, the lighthouse has edged
Closer, liberated, from the heat haze
And still we wind round the coast
On this our holiday, seven holy days,
And the path broadens, so we can walk
Two by two like the animals into the ark
And by now the lighthouse is no spectre
It is a monstrous living thing, and suddenly
All around me, other people fall in
How can it be? When me and my family
Were alone in the world, and in our quest,
We trod the path as if each grain of
Earth beneath our feet were its own
Pilgrimage, as if heaven were at stake,
And so when we finally reached the
Lighthouse, the fruit did not taste quite
As sweet, for the path had been trodden
By other sinning feet, weary, weary, weary,
But in my dreams I never reach
The lighthouse, and I cannot capture
The joy of those glorious golden hours
Why so few, and turned so sour
By the hurriedly passing years?
And besides, then, so long ago
I was too young to know, too innocent
To realise that all of this would fade
That the people around me would never
Be quite so happy again, and that the
Old hotel that cared for us like a
Benevolent aunt would slide forgotten
Into an unmarked grave
The time is gone and cannot be recovered
And it is only the path to the lighthouse
That in my dreams I can hope to save.

 

Rose Maguire

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