Helvick Head, 4 May

by John Boland

(for Joe Kennedy)

Out there, on that rock
licked by the waves,
life is pampering itself:

a solitary cormorant
spreads his great wings
to embrace the heat;

nearby, six guillemots,
stunned by the sun,
preen like a foreign legion

waiting to be inspected.
These creatures are wiser
than we are, who have spent

all afternoon struggling
through gorse, tearing
our clothes, risking

our necks, on the off-chance
that we’ll be privileged
to see such self-absorption.

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