Éire will transform you, if you let her. For she is more a presence than a place. Was this poem a real event or one imagined? I honestly don’t remember now.
We Shall All Be Changed
Come walk the beach with me, she said.
Let’s stand with our feet in the sea
And let the waves flow rough around us
Until we know the meaning of flow,
Of being remade every moment.
The wind was up at low tide,
Blue, grey, orange, brown, black rocks
Shiny with wet or muted in drying,
Flattened and polished by tidal caresses,
Dotted the damp sand before us.
I looked to my left with some reservation
At vigorous breakers pounding on
Boulders green and mossy.
But she tossed off her shoes and socks
Rolled up her pant legs and waded in
Not waiting for me to come along.
While I dithered, she threw back her head
And laughed into the gusts that blew her hair,
Making her look like some wild Celt warrior
Setting her mind and heart,
Though not against an unseen foe
But in greeting to a lover.
As sunlight waned, the sea felt primal
And she was one with it,
Welcoming each foaming, swirling wave,
As if they belonged together,
Each transforming each into a bit of the other,
In the confidence of mutual affection.
I knew she would not call to me,
But something did—the waves, I think.
A voice I had not heard, until
I watched my friend the sea-lover
Relishing the rhythm of their communion.
The Atlantic was loud, the wind louder,
My reluctance suddenly gone silent
And my heart surprised in listening
To an awareness of courage to trust
In the unseen and step into the Unknown.
She turned only when I stood beside her,
My bare feet tingling in wide-awake attention,
As if the sea had waited for me alone
To teach my mind to believe in the beauty
Of rough waters, the blessing of discomfort.
We shall all be changed, she said,
Gazing far out beyond the cove
That sheltered the beach
Where we both stood, ankle-deep in waves
That no longer felt rough or dangerous.
The question is from what to what.