I’ve wanted to visit Ireland for years and finally I’m in Dublin. I have eight nights booked here. Will that be enough time to find myself a hard-drinking, engagingly dissipated Irish poet?
Thursday May 2 11 am
My God, words of prophecy! Such things really can happen. Across the dark space in the little pub in Temple Bar our eyes met and locked. My heart beat faster. I agonized for a moment, a breathless eternity, before he picked up his glass, moved across the room and sat at my table. “May I join you?” would have been but trite politesse. We both knew.
We drank Guinness until the bar closed. We talked of countries and peoples, languages and literature, music and the muse, travel and the terrible train schedules. Everything and nothing, our merest word imbued with a significance we both felt.
I came home late, but couldn’t sleep. We are to meet again tomorrow and I count the hours.
Friday May 3 11:45 am
He is Seamus O’Reilly, occasionally-published Irish bard. And sure ‘tis no wonder, for so were his father and mother before. He does not do menial work, preferring to thrust all his energy into expressing the fire in his soul, once the Guinness has set it free. We sit in dark pub corners, cradling our pints, while he reads to me from his latest works and I tremble at the power he wrests from the language. I am fascinated by him, more drawn than I’ve ever been to a man. The cragginess of his brow through the rough shock of hair falling on it; the gentle curve of his Guinness gut rounding the belly of his cable-knit sweater and hinting of a hedonism held in check by the discipline of his art; the keenness in his grey-eyed glance that sets my heart to fluttering like a schoolgirl’s; the tender huskiness of his voice in my ear, suggesting that we should order another round…
Saturday May 4 1:30 pm
We are inseparable and time has no meaning. Who’d have imagined that I would have to travel back to the land of my forefathers to find my only soul mate? The startling commonalities of our existence! We both put the mustard on our hot dogs before the relish, because the mustard keeps the little cubes of pickle from falling out. We both love Sibelius’ Symphony No. 4 in A min. Opus 63. We both hate how waiters put the coffee cups upside down on the counter. And we love to be together, sharing the minutest details of our lives.
I am wondering how to divest myself of my commitments in Canada and stay in Ireland to devote myself to his happiness. He talks of how I inspire him; I am thrilled to be his personal muse. He says, what can he not write, at last, with me by his side? I will be the meaning behind his greatness.
Sunday May 5 9 pm
Our morning pints of Guinness took on a devotional quality as we raised our breakfasts and toasted each other’s health and happiness in the Boar’s Head. Then we wandered, lost and uncaring, in Dublin’s fair city, through streets broad and narrow. On the bank of the river Seamus recited his epic poem, “Ode to the Liffey.” I was enthralled for the whole ninety-two minutes. It will take its rightful place in literary history. The names of Behan, Joyce, Shaw, Yeats, Wilde will pale beside that of Seamus O’Reilly.
Now it’s evening and I relive the day, recounting every precious moment, our shared words, his every glance that thrilled my soul. I am too excited to sleep. I can’t wait until tomorrow.
Monday May 6 2 pm
I am so afraid. Seamus is gone. We were to meet at dawn, at the Ha’Penny Bridge on the River Liffey, to dream and plan of the happy days ahead. I waited until ten, surely time enough for the dawn to come and go, but it brought no Seamus. Where can he be?
Tuesday May 7 2 pm
I went to the Ha’Penny Bridge again this morning. Maybe I got the days mixed up. Alas, he was not there and my aching heart told me to face the truth. It is over.
I am desolate. I have lived a lifetime in this week and known joys granted to few mortals. But it has ended and my soul is plunged into an abyss of mourning.
Was it too soon for me to have said, I want to have your children?
Thursday May 9 3 pm
Without spirit, without happiness, but with desperate determination I gather the pitiful shreds of my life and go on. I am to travel to Cork, to the picturesque fishing village of Kinsale on the south coast.
Without doubt there will be a brawny-armed fisherman or two.
One morning I’ll go out for my early walk and I’ll see him: standing on the foredeck, robust legs spread to brace against the fresh breeze, the far horizons reflected in the depths of his blue, sea-crinkled eyes. Our gazes will meet across the lowered boom and I will feel an inner stirring at the heaving of his mighty chest muscles lifting the contours of his striped jersey…
Hmm…maybe I overrated intellect.