Long-shadowed by power
(names and faces)
I’ve run, transiting thresholds
to come full circle.
Setting out from darkened manor,
I passed o’er lamplit plains
where St. George wages infinite war
Retreating for a time,
I tucked myself away
down ragged, age-worn peninsulas,
became wild again,
embraced by wind and rain and waves,
until one day I sought the high road,
a bridge back to civilization.
But spears and barbs flanked cobbled lanes
and so again I fled, this time
o’er bee-gilded, golden meadows
until in a small fishing boat
I began my final journey home,
seeking refuge along the way
among kindred earthen peoples.
I can no longer tell whether I’ve been
running from or running to
but I have landed here,
which is just about where I began.
Inspired by Jennifer Knoblock at Graceful Press Poetry, who in turn was inspired by Margo Roby’s Poem Tryouts (“The Streets Where You Lived”), this poem was built around the names of some of the streets I’ve lived on over the years.
At first glance, I realized that many are names of powerful men and leaders (Roxborough, Nepean, Burnside, Putman). Roxborough also means “manor of the dark-haired person” and Putman means “dweller by the pit or hollow.” Other streets referenced: St. George (my university residence address), Iveragh (named after Ireland’s Iveragh Peninsula), Upper Bridge, Barry’s (“spear,” “sharp”) Lane, Cahernane Meadows, and Curragh (small Irish fishing boat). Currently, I live on a street that has the same name as my father.