Glen Minard, County Kerry,
and the Gift of Cows
by Sheila A. Murphy
After weaving our Dan Dooley rental car
on unmarked roads through farmersí fields,
the three of us spot the cottage, lone and white,
nestled in fields of green. Turning the key,
we see the hearth and stacks of peat, beyond
four pairs of Wellies near the kitchen door,
reminders we have traveled far to grieve
the loss of Maryís spouse, our lifelong friend.
A low stone wall along the road encloses
what was once the garden, now a tangle
of weeds too long ignored, so thick they hid
the hints of tufted blossoms, paintbrushes
dipped in gold, and crimson montbrecia.
Along the farmerís road beyond the wall,
at early light and dusk, in sun or rain,
a row of heads and swaying backs appears,
ambling from barn to pasture, pasture to barn,
followed by a dog, black and white,
same color as the cows, and at the end, a boy.
In our slow days of walks and silences,
the lilt of Mary calling
Here come the girls
pauses us from weeding, sketching, reading,
cooking, or tending peat fires to watch
the tall heads, the placid eyes, the fluid bulk
as predictable and cadenced as the pull of tides.
Copyright © 2019 by Sheila A. Murphy.