A root of balm, a root of bane the news pronounces
these days. I call it all painful. Wind flays the trees
beside the river we cross to get to school, library,
the rest of the world and an old oak has had too much,
reared itself, shown its mess, its new logic: naked root,
black earth, its death. The levels of betrayal are infinite
in Donal’s new article about the IRA, the Army, peace
makers. I am lost tracking them and can’t anymore.
Back home, the instrument of chimney blows a wild tune
I don’t want to know, Christ, I say, don’t we cover up
those old things? The chill waft from between bricks
is inexplicable. A body absorbs all kinds of things,
cold, the pavement, the father shot when he was five,
the gorgeous image of torn root, the wet of a window
weeping with condensation, the vivid hedge beyond.
Today’s storm is named Henry. Before that, Gertrude,
Frank and Eva. Desmond, Clodagh, Barney, and finally
Abigail, but there is no story for this stew, this day.
There is no illuminating anecdote to pass us through
its gust and confusion. Noli me tangere, is what
Jesus said to Mary Magdalene when she recognized him
after his death. The original Greek translates better,
maybe, Cease holding on to me. Men in reflective vests
and city coveralls touch the broken bits strewn on grass,
the gnarled oak’s below. It will be gone tomorrow.
 From Christina Rosetti poem “At Last”