For Eamonn and Drucilla Wall
We return by foot from pre-plantation oaks,
The last un-hacked remnant Druid bowers
Extolled in guidebooks, haunt of the true west,
Having eschewed the angler’s holiday
On the lough, the off-road to The Quiet Man Cottage,
A sundown red as Maureen O’Hara’s hair.
You might be driving early along Route 40,
Then south toward Las Cruces, the Trinity Site,
With your kids in back for the big adventure
Deep into the vast magician’s coat of America.
Outside your car the ancient sea still rolls
Out of phase with its unearthly denizens,
The seabed now desert to your ranging eyes,
And Roswell’s haze extraterrestrial on the flats.
We walk to the village in the gloaming’s softness,
Cow patties on the laneway, a well-lit Spar
Where the road declines to a weathered cross,
It’s Ogham washed by centuries of rain
Into fossil whirls of ciphers, wind’s lost rubric
Known only to stone—the lichen’s Braille.
Or maybe you turn north on the Spanish Trail,
The old empire’s highway an interstate now
Through pinyon and pueblo, the casino lights
Blue-shifting off the shoulder as you drive
Above Tesuque for the Sangre de Cristos,
Their heights like a vista in Ford’s The Searchers.
Rest the night, friends, at some quiet rancho:
Poblanos, empanadas, and tequila anejo
Will set you easy for the journey ahead.
We’re at the pub now, my long love and I,
Pints in our hands, good grub on the Agha.
Above our numbered heads the wheels are turning,
Our wests swerving east to greet us on the road.
Let’s keep the locals solid for a thousand years.
Let’s meet sometime in the next far country.