Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

‘Epithalamion: A Wicklow Triptych’ by Tarn MacArthur


    I. Avondale House


I wanted to bring you to a place of meaning,
meaning, I wanted to bring you somewhere
that meant something to me so it could mean
something to you. So there we were, halfway
to the estate of someone whose name meant

nothing to both of us, where a century before
my Gran was born in the servants’ quarters.
But the satnav wrong-turned us in Rathdrum,
set us dead off course, to a time and a place
we may never have reached had we meant to.


    II. Glendalough


We circled the valley’s twin lakes searching
for remains of St Kevin’s Cell, me in hope
of reading Heaney’s poem riverside, but all
we came across were his Kitchen and Bed.
Still, we pushed ahead through an oak wood

splashed with bluebells and holly, jackdaws
raucous in the branches, until a soft winter
light draped its raw silk over the upper lake.
By the time we turned back for the carpark
I’d forgotten the Saint, any reason we came.


    III. Ballysmuttan Upper


Dawn mist and a small scattering of red deer
haunting the valley where we stepped from
the stone cottage down the boreen, the matte
grey sky, the mizzle and our groggy minds
doing little to slacken our sense of the world

undeniably changed yet the same, the black
strand of the Liffey slipping away to the city
then the bay then the sea. Any plans we had
were set aside when we sat on the riverbank
watching the water, waiting for nothing at all.