Sunday, March 15, 2009

O, Danny Boy

We climbed the rocks above the gorge

to have your party as you wanted.

The evening sun shone from the ancient

river like a fire encased in steel.

The air, sweet and cold, rang little

breath clouds as we sang your Irish song.

Anna, swaying as she sang, held to you as you

had held to her when she was still your child.

You didn’t mind the clinging; you seemed

in no great rush to go your way alone.

When finally it was time for you to leave, you faltered,

torn between falling back with us and flying free.

Just then, the wind picked up the tune, the trees

piped out your name, and we in silence watched

as you embraced the sky.


  1. Intriguing poem. Is there a back story we could hear some time?

  2. ...the mystery suffices in a wonderful poem.

  3. I want to know the story here! Lovely imagery Karen.

  4. ooooh....I love it!!!!! Really, Karen - ranks among my favorites.

    "Just then, the wind picked up the tune, the trees
    piped out your name, and we in silence watched
    as you embraced the sky."

    - Those lines took my breath away! I see the truth in them. Thanks for this wonderful poem.

    Seeing the NR Gorge Bridge makes me miss home!!!

  5. So beautiful. "Embraced the sky" The ending sings of new life. And the "party as you wanted" I love that. My father always told me to throw a party for him when it was time for him to go. And we did.

    I love your poetry, Karen:)

  6. An achingly beautiful farewell. This one brought tears to my eyes, Karen. And I was about to say it's one of my favorites, but the proof of your skill is that I seem to say that with each new post. :)

  7. Such a beautiful farewell. I felt a sense of freedom, with just a tinge of sadness.

  8. "Danny Boy" was my father's absolute favourite song. He would have loved this piece also. You really did the absent one justice.


  9. Beautiful imagery. A worth tune for the Irish pipes.

  10. Dave - Yes, there's a story of a 30 year friendship, shared grief, and final release. Isn't that the story we all share as we sing our songs of experience? It's like going through those tunnels and finding this at the end.

    APPOLINAIRE'S TATOO - Thank you for that. I always wonder about the stories behind poems, but I think it's the mystery that keeps me reading them.

    Brosreview - Thank you for that high compliment, and thanks for reading.

    Linda - Sometimes I struggle for something to say in response to a poem, when what I really think is what you said. Believe me, I'll take it!! Thanks.

    Cat - At the risk of sounding political, I think he was killed in Vietnam. He just didn't die until 30 years later.

    Kaye - Thanks for your words, which always encourage me to continue. I'm glad you felt those words. They are, really, the truth of this.

    The mountains are beautiful, aren't they? It was really that valley that shaped us, though. That river, that valley, those hills. It never goes away.

    Faith - We really do have to celebrate when someone becomes at one. It's only we who are sad to let them go. Thank you for seeing the life in this.

    Jennifer - I can't thank you enough. I cried when I wrote it, but I left the tears out of the poem itself. It was a party, after all...

    Rachel - There was a freedom, a release in this. Thank you for continuing to read and comment on my poetry. It means so much to me.

    Kat - I so wanted to figure a way to have Danny Boy playing in the background, but I was lucky to get this posted. (I had a houseful of 2 years olds this weekend!!) The title fits; it was his name.

    jason - Thank you so for continuing to read and comment. I would love to have had those pipes piping, but I'm not that proficient with blogger yet. I need to play around some!!

  11. I've been there. Almost lived there. There is a place under the bridge that my son calls his special hidey place. (This was long before the traffic was rerouted after the floods).

    Old Danny Boy. Sweet reference.

  12. Roberta - That's a beautiful area of the state -- one of many. Almost Heaven indeed! Thanks for continuing to read my poetry.

  13. this is, indeed, a fine and fitting tribute to any soul wonderful enough to have made such a request. i love how it is bursting with implicit sadness and adoration - and from "torn between falling back with us and flying free" to the end is about as perfect, poetic and beautiful a description of that moment as there can be.

  14. joaquin - You cannot know how I value your comments. You have brought fresh tears to my eyes with that assessment. Thank you.

  15. Karen, I know you're "keeping secrets", but would you send me an e-mail so I can contact you?


  16. Bone And Dust

    The cross of life, deep
    and true, birth begins and death
    ends, crossed by lovers
    and adoration
    of the heart of god reaching
    beyond sense and sight,
    the fourfold nature,
    the edges of our journey,
    it is here I watch
    you crumble to bits
    of bone and dust, you having
    gone ahead of me.

  17. Karen, you have done it again. This poem is absolutely beautiful. The loss made me cry. When a poem makes me cry, I put it on my "must read many times" list, because I am impressed when words can do that to me.

    I'm not sure what kind of loss the poem speaks of, but it made me think of a friend's memorial service when her ashes were let go in the wind. You capture that same sadly sweet feeling.

    You have so many wonderful images in the poem--sun, rocks, trees, sky.

    Of course, I love the ending. These lines are also musical:

    "The air, sweet and cold, rang little
    breath clouds as we sang your Irish song."


  18. This one made me tear up. Thanks for capturing and sharing such a moving moment. The last lines were so beautiful!

  19. Kat - I tried this address. Let me know if you don't get it.

    Christopher - I love the image of a fourfold nature, the cross of life. "Birth begins and death ends, crossed by lovers and the adoration of the heart of god..." Beautiful.

    Julie - This is exactly the loss and exactly the situation of which the poem speaks. It is a sad, sweet occasion, and I'm humbled that its description can make you react so. Thank you for your support of my writing. It means so much to me.

    Aine - Thanks for visiting here and for your kind comments. This occurred several years ago, but writing it made it immediate again. Isn't it amazing that words can do that?

  20. what a beautiful blog you have karen. I loved it very very much :)

  21. Little Girl Lost - Thanks for the nice compliment, and thanks for stopping by. Come back!

  22. Karen, this is so heartbreaking and so uplifting at the same time... I didn't truly realise until the last line the farewell that it was... Beautiful...

  23. Vesper - I am pleased that you felt both of these emotions and that the realization came at he end. Your reaction to the poem is exactly what I hoped it would be. Thank you, my poet friend.

  24. Oh my gOOdness that really is ~beautiful~ sighhh...

  25. Thank you, nollyposh! I am glad to have you come back again.

  26. Karen: I actually discovered your poem on Nolly Posh's blog! Let me know if you'd like to submit it for my blog.


  27. Nancy - Welcome! I visit your blog frequently, and I'd love to submit this one. Thanks for the invitation!

  28. I also immediately thought of ashes, Karen, and my heart welled at the sight. For I always see your poems so clearly. Your images and emotion wrap such warmth around me, even when the subject matter is sad. I loved the note of uplift at the end. Such a feeling of peace for him, even as the others struggle with being left behind.

    Wonderful, poignant farewell.

  29. Thank you, Sarah. The image of ashes plays on my mind a good bit with a poignancy -- so many things can rise from the ashes. Part of the cycle of living, isn't it? Thank you for feeling that peace at the end.

  30. Wonderful imagery Karen. Somehow reminded me of 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull'. Beautifully written.

  31. Thanks, Aniket. Yes, I hadn't thought of that, but I can see the similarity.