Touring County Mayo, Eire
late autumn, 1980

A cement breakwater
holding out the Atlantic
as the tide pounds Achill Island
where harbor shacks stink
of dying mackerel.
We walked along the desolate
crates, booms and jetties,
our breath boiling from ale
and whiskeys
in a November mist
having just toured the Northwest coast
in a borrowed Austin:
Diarmuid, myself
and a brunette who desired us both
before her husband returned
from London on business.
We charged the wind,
our foreheads glazed and stinging
as whitecaps burst into spray
off the incoming gray waves,
sea gulls rioting for fish head,
and the pilings beneath our bodies
thundered into the depths.
I remember as we retreated
to the pub for a pint of bitter,
five or six sheep skulls
bobbed in like white buoys
through the inlet
settling in a pool of foam
and driftwood,
their eyeless sockets sucking in
the slanted light as it poured
from the harbor planks like a flood.


Poems by Richard Callin:

A New Life
Nine One One
Touring County Mayo, Eire
The Buick
How I'll Tell Him
A Story
Water Wheel

TIMES TEN: An Anthology of Northern California Poets