Too soon after

the terrible disaster

we flee from Israel to Ireland

when nobody is in the air

except those more fearful on earth

looking for


Men are dying hot and coldly

give every man a flask my boy

and a farlock on his shoulder



The airport isn't empty.

I thought every one would be home

far from the ongoing terrors of last week

watching the sifting of remains,

the self-stimulation for the sacrifice of war.

I thought everyone would be there,

or at the beach casting the sins of the year

into the waters of oblivion.

But everyone here seems to behave

as if

nothing had happened.

Here at Duty-Free

in Ben Gurion

only the Arabs are absent.

from the usual bustle.

I miss the sound and sight

of people part of my life

but am sadly relieved.

And instead of a holiday

I am hunkering

for an argument.

Like the exiled Syrian poet,

Mohammed Al Maghut,

I hear the horses of war

thundering towards me

and am looking

for someone


to punch in the nose.


Once on emerald soil

the rage within me dies.

Between the rocks on the Burren,

crowded fern grow with milkwort and moss

excitedly but in peace.




The ruined towers

peeking everywhere

from the magical verdure

call out to us

of the news we flee,

the vain need for a safe place.

Again and again I see

the second plane

circling into

the World Trade Center.


Yeats knew how to do it,

restored his tower and wrote

on its stone of it transience:

may these characters remain

when all is ruin once again





We drive to Sligo looking for the supernatural,

letting our spirit guide the way.

Toward night, with no place to stay,

the dim neon of the Belmont Hotel

invites us to shelter – its cozy lobby

with a group of ancient ladies

sitting out the evening, rousing

at the arrival of two scruffy strangers.

Vaguely I note the door signs in the hall

to our room – Shihatsu, Clay Baths, Yoga –

what kind of place is this – the cross on the wall,

the elegant dinner in an empty dining hall.

The brochure makes it all clear – we are near

a shrine where Mary appeared over a hundred

years ago – and now there are holy, healing waters

and prayer for healing.

In the morning we visit the shrine, fill the plastic bottles

we bought that say “I prayed for you at Knock,” close our eyes

and entreat for sanity to be restored to the world.


Why do I rage

at being erased

from history?

Why should an Irish museum

trace the Holy Book

to a Hebrew source?

Yet tears stream from me

at a whole exhibit devoted

to books of great religions

that has not even one letter

in Hebrew

to a timeline of civilization

that does not mention

the Holocaust



Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping 

than you can understand.

In this remote Glebe House

Ben Ladin will never find me

or Saddam or Hamas—

even the fairies do not come near.

We close the heavy shutters

before the walled garden

that borders the deep forest

and sleep at last the sleep

of the protected.

In the morning Irish dew

glistens over the vegetables,

the wall, the forest. And our radio

picks up only music.



When you walk through a storm

Hold your head up high


in the rain –

We all look down

or hide in a scarf.

Sure the aquarium

will be dingy and sad

we are tired

of the wind

weary of the damp

that pervades

like the obscenities of the news

And we elect to visit the fish.

There in the Touch Tank

are forms I recognize

from various dinners.

On the floor,

covered with sand,

round shapes with eyes

regard my motion, my silence.

I lean over and watch

the mackerel circle


in their round space

as if their schoolmaster

had punished them with endless parades—

But I am projecting humanity

out of loneliness

onto fish furcrissake

Until a bream reaches out to me

at first tentatively, swimming up

for a look. Next he calls his friends

I swear, and I am the object

of gossip I am sure.

One by one they come

and raise their heads

from the water

and speak with me.

Please believe me, we really spoke.

I think they even changed my life.

It does me no good

to tell this to people

in the city. Even

the Irish look at me

as if I was a poet.



The friends that have I do it wrong

Whenever I remake a song

Should know what issue is at stake:

it is myself that I remake

-- Yeats

Now here’s a bard who remade

a whole nation, gave it

myth, meaning.

All we need

is to see


the falling roofs.