October 2009 - Vol. 33

view from Tully Mountain and Ballynakill Harbour, County Galway, Ireland, photo by Don Schwager

Meeting on the High Road

by Sean O'Neill

Coming up the ribbon of the road,
With banter flying
Like hollow messengers before him,
This gray man stops to talk.
What of my father? 
He is well.
My words curry him back to favor,
Back to bars and friends
Too well to make much of me
Dangling from the company.
I am adopted into the family of the sure-footed,
The level-headed 
And the reassuring round
Of tight evenings by the table
And partings at the door.
I have seen, as though reflected
In the stained window of their lives,
Predatory gulls of doubt
Veer away from the blank sand of their shores
Down to my craggy inlet
Hidden from the wind
And the corrosive tides of familiarity.
He is well.
If I am brief
I can tell you the tale,
My own story in heroic couplets
Of yin and yang.
A very little time
And I will take you down with me
And Virgil
To the iceman
At the centre of it all.
I have lived not far from there
Awaiting my Beatrice
Waiting by the lost coast
For the flash of a sail
On the long trackless grey,
Looking out to the breakers
And other phantom hopes.
But he is well.
All is well.

[Sean O'Neill is originally from Glasgow, Scotland, and currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. His poems range from the sacred to the mundane and sometimes, inadvertently, both at the same time.] 

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