Irish Poem of the Week: The Mayo Tao by Derek Mahon

Strive for simplicity

Top of the Tent

The Mayo Tao

I have abandoned the dream kitchens for a low fire
and a prescriptive literature of the spirit;
a storm snores on the desolate sea.
The nearest shop is four miles away –
when I walk there through the shambles
of the morning for tea and firelighters
the mountain paces me in a snow-lit silence.
My days are spent in conversation
with deer and blackbirds;
at night fox and badger gather at my door.
I have stood for hours
watching a salmon doze in the tea-gold dark,
for months listening to the sob story
of a stone in the road, the best,
most monotonous sob story I have ever heard.

I am an expert on frost crystals
and the silence of crickets, a confidant
of the stinking shore, the stars in the mud –
there is an immanence in these things
which drives me, despite my scepticism,

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About maskednative

I live in Ireland, in an extended cottage overlooking Waterford Estuary, privvy to constant changes of light on water, colour and movement, tides and people. I am anglo-Irish and although my initial intention was to live here for a year and a day, I am still here, a blow-in to these shores for the past fifteen years. There have been countless times when I wanted to run back to England with homesickness and relief, but for one reason or another, so far, it has not been possible. I surrender, the soul of Ireland has captured me, allowed a glimpse of the world behind the mask of everyday experiences, bringing forth a mixture of words and pictures from an ordinary everyday life, filled with ordinary everydayness that I offer as a celebration, to the creator of this truly wonderful planet.
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10 Responses to Irish Poem of the Week: The Mayo Tao by Derek Mahon

  1. Tom says:

    Teri, thanks for posting this. The simplicity of mindfulness that resides just beyond the edge of language.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SirenaTales says:

    Oh, how rich and playful and lovely, Teri. Thanks so much for sharing, as I had not been familiar with Mahon’s work….but his painterly poem kindles some body memories in me from my long ago honeymoon in your amazing land! Hope all is well with you. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. urdamage says:


    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful share, connecting to nature.. 🙂 Its lovely… Thank you for bringing it to us..
    And only sorry I am late in getting here to read it.. xx ❤ Sue

    Liked by 1 person

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