It never ceases to reassure and to uplift me that, no matter what I am feeling or thinking, there is a poem and a poet out there who can put words and closure to my circular thoughts.

I hope to move home shortly. My daughter and I have not been here long, around six years, although they have been very important ones in terms of her growningupness and my role as a mostly peripheral witness and occasional invited guest to this most transformative and wondrous of ‘sociological processes’…

Now, it is time to move on, and we are both keen to find a different space. Yet leaving and moving are complex events and emotions are inevitably mixed, with hope sitting alongside sadness, and optimism tinged with fear and with a sense of loss.

The Irish poet Brendan Kennelly movingly considers the tensions that exist between memories and the places they inhabit, as well as the essence of memories, personal relationships, and the transient and finite nature of it all, or not…

 

We Are Living

 

What is this room

But the moments we have lived in it?

When all due has been paid

To gods of wood and stone

And recognition has been made

Of those who’ll breathe here when we are gone

Does it not take its worth from us

Who made it because we were here?

 

Your words are the only furniture I can remember

Your body the book that told me most.

If this room has a ghost

It will be your laughter in the frank dark

Revealing the world as a room

Loved only for those moments when

We touched the purely human.

 

I could give water now to thirsty plants,

Dig up the floorboards, the foundation,

Study the worm’s confidence,

Challenge his omnipotence

Because my blind eyes have seen through walls

That make safe prisons of the days.

 

We are living

In ceiling, floor and windows,

We are given to where we have been.

This white door will always open

On what our hands have touched,

Our eyes have seen.

 

Brendan Kennelly

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