In Coming Days

Eavan Boland Click to

bolandBorn in Dublin, Eavan Boland is the author of many collections of essay and poetry, the most recent A Woman Without a Country from Carcanet and Norton this year. In 2014 her collection of essays, A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet received a PEN Award for Creative Fiction. She currently holds an endowed professorship at Stanford University, where she is also Director of the Creative Writing Program. In 2007 she received Shenandoah’s Boatwright Prize for Best Poem of the Year.  “In Coming Days” first appeared in Shenandoah  56/3.

I will be as old as the Shan Van Vocht –

(although no one knows how old she is.)

I will ask to meet her on the borders of Kildare.

It will be cold.
The hazel willow will be frozen by the wayside.

The rag-taggle of our history
will march by us.

They will hardly notice two women on the roadside.
I will speak to her. Even though I know
she can only speak with words made by others.

I will say to her, You were betrayed.
Do you know that?

She will look past me at the torn banners,
makeshift pikes, bruise feet. Her lips will move:

To the Currach of Kildare
The boys they will repair.

There is still time, I will tell her. We can still
grow old together.

And will Ireland then be free?
And will Ireland then be free?

We loved the same things, I will say –
or at least some of them. Once in fact, long ago,

Yes! Ireland shall be free,
From the center of the sea.

I almost loved you.