Eavan Boland

Rookie (1944 / Dublin)

Amethyst Beads - Poem by Eavan Boland

And when I take them out of
the cherrywood box these beads are
the colour of dog-violets in shadow. Then
at the well of the throat where
tears start
they darken. Now I wear at my neck an old stress
of crystal: an impression of earthly housekeeping.
A mysterious brightness
made underground where there is no sun
only stories of a strayed child and her mother bargaining
with a sullen king. Promising and arguing:
what she can keep, what she can let him have. Shadows
and the season violets start up in are part of
the settlement. Stolen from such a place
these beads cannot be anything
but wise to the healing arts of compromise,
of survival. And when I wear them it is almost
as if my skin was taking into itself
a medicine of light. Something like the old simples.
Rosemary, say, or tansy.
Or camomile which they kept
to cool fever. Which they once used to soothe a child
tossing from side to side, beads of sweat catching
and holding a gleam from the vigil lamp.
A child crying out in her sleep
Wait for me. Don't leave me here.
Who will never remember this.
Who will never remember this.

Comments about Amethyst Beads by Eavan Boland

  • (9/9/2016 9:11:00 AM)

    Gosh, powerful, but I am not too sure what to make of it. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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