A Trip to Howth
Howth! Land of enchantment. Here,
amid the stink of rotting fish heads,
at the heart of a snow-white tornado, we
encounter a chaotic swirl of murderous gulls,
swooping and diving to battle over
the scraps left out by the drunken fishermen.
The ladies in white lace lift up their arms
and curtsy, even as the birds peck out their eyes.
The trawlers, dark and oily, sit silent,
heel to toe along the corroded dock.
It’s peaceful under the lashing rain, beneath
the heavy carnal sky. The birds have gone.
It’s just me and the rain. And you.
Come on, you say, let’s walk.
On deck, the fishermen exchange glances,
smoking hashish in their Egyptian pipes.
We rematerialize, mysteriously,
upon a hill, amongst the blackened ruins
of a forgotten church. Water runs down our necks
while we solemnly exchange daisy chains
and pledge allegiance to the gray and the green.
A crucifix dangles from a gravestone,
the only part of the picture still in focus
as we blur into the sodden muddy Irish mist.
Infinity of Lettuce
Take a leaf, any leaf, from any random
head of lettuce. Examine it under the
microscope. You’ll find that it looks remarkably
like a landscape. Arc and twist as you soar
down valleys and over hills, following the
physiography of the green and pleasant
countryside, soft and pliable under clouds.
As you zoom in, you might find a track, a
stony way of the kind that you would expect
to have been carved into the hillside by shepherds
and their flocks over generations. Follow it
down into the valley, and there you could find a
small farm. This farm grows crops, and look, in
a field you find lettuces growing. Pick one.
Examine this lettuce under a microscope, You
find, once again, that it looks just like the
landscape you saw before. Worlds within worlds,
repetition ad infinitum. And yet, and yet … you
could have picked any other leaf, from any other
plant, in any other field in the world, and you would
never have discovered this mysterious microcosm.
Paul Ilechko was born in England but has lived much of his life in the USA. He currently lives in Lambertville, NJ with his girlfriend and a cat. Paul has had poetry published and/or accepted recently by Third Wednesday, Dash Magazine, Gloom Cupboard, MockingHeart Review and Slag Review, among others.