At the Temple of St. Brecan, Inis Mor

Take the apiary, stuffed
with sweetness: athrum
and buzzing sociable,
symbol of industry,
Clochán na Carraige a bright limestone
curve, smoke hole and air slit, thin
slip of light.  The bent
neck, supplicant sea-farer,
 
retreats from the rim of the known,
from the bosky blossom, the wine-flushed
burgher.  Nothing but the self
to reckon with.  Out of many, one
regnant leader
whose love alone sustains.

Irish directional signs from the Island of Inismor, combined with language from the Anglo-Saxon poem “The Seafarer”


Katharine Jager is a poet and a medieval scholar. Her poetry and criticism has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Commonweal, Friends Journal, The Year’s Work in English Studies, Medieval Perspectives, delirious hem, and in the Yale anthology Before the Door of God, among other venues. She teaches English at the University of Houston-Downtown.

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