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John Kearns

Aboard The Aran Seabird: Leaving Inishmore

Soon there will be rainbows at my feet.
Seagulls circle and cavort.
Gaily, they laugh above the Atlantic surface.
Below, a lone black salmon finds no food
And shadows aimlessly the same small space.
I stand aboard The Aran Seabird.
Soon there will be rainbows at my feet.
I leave you on your grey and windswept,
Sea-wracked rock where all is always simple.
I watch your weathered, red face, coarse
As the canvas on your curragh,* grow desperate
While each disembarked stranger fails to respond. 

             "You need transport?"
             "You need pony and trap?"
             "You need pony and trap?"

The engine shakes The Seabird, my transport.
With ceremony, I light a cigarette and sigh a wish.
Go raibh maith agat.* Good luck.
May you never sink from your jovial surface
To the depths of your despair.


* curragh: Middle English currok, from Irish currach, curach. Type of Irish boat with a wooden frame, over which animal skins or hides were once stretched. Nowadays, canvas is more usual.
* Go raibh maith agat: Thank you.