Selskar Abbey (County Wexford)
Can’t but admit I found this place to feel
peace in all its rubble, rock by rock,
clambering: here, if you stop and kneel
on one knee at around, say, two o’clock,
you’ll see the brown rune-chiseled cross gone gold
with flaring in the sun; you’ll feel it all,
the rites that echoed, all the bells, the old
grand transubstantiating folderol
at rest. At last. The peace, at last, of death.
Something, though, disturbs me, even here,
where prayer seems preternatural as breath
and ruin’s coldly piled up atmosphere
is charged with its own past, which, after all,
sleeps fitfully upon its own downfall.
I didn’t want to think I saw it—just
breakage: scrappy leaves out in the wrack,
sticks whirling, only time at all to trust
to bring it all in time brilliantly back
come spring. I had to get somewhere by ten
and sat in traffic waiting for the light
to toggle green so I could go again.
My blinker said I would be merging right
as if that were the only thing to say
to all those cars behind me and beside.
This was a day like any other day.
I had to get there—get there—so to ride
unseeing through what-all there was to see
was, as I wished, how it had to be.</p>
Terence Culleton, a two-time Pushcart nominee, has published three collections of formally crafted narrative and lyric poems, including A Communion of Saints and Eternal Life (both out through Anaphora Literary Press) and, most recently, A Tree and Gone, a collection of formal English sonnets out in 2021 through Future Cycle Press. Sonnets from A Tree and Gone have appeared in Antiphon, Better Than Starbucks (featured poem), Blue Unicorn, Eclectic Muse, Innisfree, Orbis (Readers’ Choice), Raintown Review, Schuylkyll Valley Journal (featured poet), and numerous other anthologies and journals. A Tree and Gone is available at Amazon or through his website, terenceculletonpoetry.com.