O Connor
The Space Between
by Mags O’Connor

On the busy highway
In the slipstream of
Muted motors
I suddenly longed
For the smooth
Silken sunset
On still water
My oar slicing
Silently through
The rippling sheen
And carrying me
Home to the green
Fields held for
Thirty years in
My homesick heart
The Prodigal daughter
Returning to play
Her part in a
Family unravelling
And I,
Ready for a
New start.

Soon I battled
In prevailing winds
Blowing in a land
Caught in the space
Between famine and the
Grand schemes of
Banker brigands
Trading old gods for
The bland altars of
The marketplace
I stepped into the bog
Of ancient pain
And “terrible beauty”
Ill-gotten gains
The brazen and the
Bold winning
Unaware that
“things fall apart
The center cannot
Hold”

And thus the cycles
Spin and now
In the space between
I hear a low call
In my mind the
Notes, the sounds,
Of the land I left behind
Singing out a freedom
So profound
Blessedly bereft
Of these superstitions
And the long dark
Evenings of the
Northerly home
The moan of wind
The lash of rain
Constant accompaniment
No gain in this return
No feast or fatted calf
A welcome peppered
With old pain
This prodigal daughter
A woman too lively for
Her years, the master
Of her own heart
Unfettered by
the long shadow
of fearful history
settled like a scarf on
the shoulders of
her tribe and yet
Loving the easy jibe
The joke, the wit
The Recognition,
“You are
one of our own.”
Caught ever moving
loving two places
Two countries to
Call home.

REFERENCES: “The Second Coming” and “Easter 1916” by W.B. Yeats.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: While I participated in the Writing Workshop in West Cork, Ireland, I camped at a beautiful campsite by the sea outside Bantry town. Waking up each day to the sparkling ocean, in rain or shine, fed my creativity and rooted me into my place of birth. Having my moveable home in my green tent beside the sea put me in another liminal space. The familiar space between places is really home to me.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem on August 11 2016, upon seeing the call for submission by Silver Birch Press. Writing is like breathing to me but I have never submitted any of my work for publication. This year, at the Bantry Writers Festival in West Cork in Ireland, I participated in a workshop led by Scottish Writer Magi Gibson called “Wild Women Writers.” There, I promised that I would be more faithful to my writing life and begin to put my toe in the water of giving it out to the world. So here it is.  It is a pleasure to create. Working on this poem showed me how comfortable I am when I am on the move and occupying that space between places, finding that I carry my home within. I hope it has resonances for other people on the move, regardless of age!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mags O’Connor currently lives and works in rural Ireland, where she considers herself part of a beautiful landscape and the lively conversations, the long stories and plentiful poetry that abound there. She was once a psychotherapist with a private practice in Western Massachusetts and sometimes she misses the spacious freedom she felt. She returns to Massachusetts yearly and to the nuances of a different kind of conversation in this place where she lived for over 30 years. She loves words and music and the opportunity to share and hear and read other people’s work. Writing is her current creative outlet and she would love to become an active member of a larger writing community.