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IMG_7107Gray rocks lace Inisheer,
speaking an ancient language.
An old man drives a horse-cart
along narrow island paths,
telling me local history.
I cannot comprehend his words,
his Gaelic accent thick.
Instead, I read the rocks.

O’Brien’s Castle, stoney lord of the island
for 600 years, has defied
the savage storms of Galway Bay.
Here rock is color, shape, mood.
Rock is the bed of dreams.

Limestone outcroppings,
worn bare by harsh winds,
network of roughhewn fences
on this piece of Irish ground a few kilometers
out to sea
seem plain and hard,
like its people.

I read beauty in the rough stone’s
defiance of time and tempests.
The islanders have endured the same,
their tongues singing songs
centuries old,
heard nowhere else.