Tuathal

By Anne Daly

Published: Honest Ulster Man

Swirling Water.jpg

At night, we whisper secrets in our sleep.

In the breaths before dawn I confess my hunger

for the sweet kernel of hazel skin, soft and fleshy to the tooth,

its taste a flowering of words against my tongue.

I did not heed the counsel of the birch, the gurgled

censure of grass as I walked towards the well.

A dark stirring turned petal in my blood, quickening to the ripple of husk

on stone that nursed the echo of the spring.

I could not have been the first to challenge 

the inadequacy of water, the failure of its language

to convey, the flesh and bone of hunger, the nestling of hope.

I walked widdershins, turned my back against the current

only to feel it rise, its thrust turning skin to scale,

limbs to argentite. An idiom of freshwater,

I became a dialect of the reeds that dart and flow,

with the flick of a quicksilver tail.

Knowledge blooms in the netting and spines that gild the fin,

which strains against the silence of the stream.    

- Anne Daly