‘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.

 
 

Tarn MacArthur

About Tarn MacArthur

Tarn MacArthur is a George Buchanan PhD scholar at the University of St Andrews. He is the recipient of a grant from the Québec Council of Arts and Letters, and the Walter and Nancy Kidd Fellowship in Creative Writing at the University of Oregon. His poetry has appeared in print and online in the New Statesman, Oxford Poetry, Poetry London, and the Times Literary Supplement.