Deirdre Remembers a Glen

Irish, unknown, possibly fourteenth century

Glen of my body’s feeding:

crested breast of loveliest wheat,

glen of the thrusting long-horned cattle,

firm among the trysting bees.

Wild with cuckoo, thrush, and blackbird,

and the frisky hind below the oak thick ridge.

Green roof that covered a thousand foxes,

glen of wild garlic and watercress, and scarlet-berried rowan.

And badgers, delirious with sleep, heaped fat in dens

next to their burrowed young.

Glen sentried with blue-eyed hawks,

greenwood laced with sloe, apple, blackberry,

tight-crammed between the ridge and pointed peaks.

My glen of the star-tangled yews,

where hares would lope in the easy dew.

To remember is a ringing pain of brightness.

Tony Hoagland’s books include What Narcissism Means to Me and Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty. He teaches at the University of Houston.