Ciarán of Clonmacnoise – a poem by Richard Manly Heiman

Ciarán of Clonmacnoise

Take my little cow--
the dun one.
Lead her over the hills
the green shower hills        hills
where even the high king
never 
ever 
goes. Take her
as an offering
of bone and rhyme.
Take her
as a tanned bard.

My cow is a sacrifice
of milk and leather.
Her hide is 
wearable whey.
Her tongue is 
vellum.
Her bones fill my skin 
with stories.
She is 
a dazzling beast
with her own story--

I give my 
milk
to the cloistered.
I give my dun 
hide
to the Lebor na hUidre.
I give my 
skull
to the western sea.
I fill the sky
with marrow,
and with psalms.

Richard Manly Heiman lives in the pines of the Sierra Nevada. He works as an English teacher and writes when the kids are at recess. Richard has been published by Rattle, Sonic Boom, Spiritus (Johns Hopkins U.), and elsewhere. His URL is poetrick.com.

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