Matins for You

Come again glistening from your morning shower

Half-coquettishly you’ll throw

Your robe at me calling out ‘Hello! Hello!’

I turn over stretching out to snatch

A bundle from the air and once more to watch

That parade across your bower.

Jaunty, brisk, allegro,

Preparing improvisations of yet another day

As on our first morning twenty-seven years ago.


Sit on the bed-end and pull a stocking on,

Slip that frock over your head

Let it slither a little, ride your hips, then spread

Its folds and tumbles, flopping past those thighs

To swish against your ankles.

I’m still all eyes.

The thrill and first frisson

At the half-known but unsaid,

At hints and contours embodied in a dance of dress

I’m ogling snugly from this your still warm bed.


Now you’re hurrying, business-like and ready to go.

I wonder if I’ve ever glimpsed you

Or if all those years I even as much as knew

Behind those hints and suggestions I admire

What inmost aim or dream or heart’s desire

Calls out ‘Hello, Hello!’

Flirt and peekaboo

Of such unwitting closeness, our take-for-grantedness,

Complex web of intimacies where we slowly grew.


Sometimes wells of aloneness seem almost to imbue

Your silence with the long wistful rubato

Of a Chopin nocturne or is it a seannós tremolo?

Má bhíonn tú liom bí liom, gach orlach de do chroí’

If you’re mine be mine, each inch of your heart for me’

That infinite longing in you

A girl racing to follow

The bus’s headlamps to meet your father at Bunbeg.

He steps down from the platform. Hello! Hello!

You smile your father’s inward Zen-like smile.


And yet its light shines outward

As when I watched you helping a child to word

The coy, swaggering pleasure of new shoes,

A muse the more a muse in being a muse.

That inward outward smile

Delights in delight conferred,

Fine-tuning those strains and riffs of wishes unspoken,

Desires another’s heart doesn’t yet know it has heard.


Now I see you, now I don’t. The doubt

And loneness of what’s always new,

Moments seized in double time, love’s impromptu,

As when late last night you started telling me

How even as a girl you’d known your dream would be

Bringing others’ dreams about.

This once I think I glimpsed you,

You my glistening, lonely, giving Mistress Zen.

Thank you. Thank you for so many dreams come true.