You just came to me
To Mike Hegarty in his haven (with acknowledgement to Seamus Heaney)
Pig-sty to cattle track, anemones to fountain-pen,
you sat in yellowed armchair, among psychiatric alumni,
released into a fighting street-scape,
where burnt-out cars took place of bicycles.
Your warrior-self listened to every voice
with the greeting of a saint
who wrote with a sun-lit plume.
Prince of the messengers,
carrier of connections,
pointing companions around wild flowers,
through the thicket of everyday life,
out into a clearing, ever shadowed,
your painterly hand ever active,
you spoke of trees in a family field,
the feed from bonamhs that licked your fingertips,
the rub of the beast that reminded you of animated conversations,
the rough warm blanket into which you were born.
You walked every inch of the lane that led from farm-house,
past copulating ragwort, to a table strewn with words
drawn together for the sake of safe passage.
In that armchair, you smiled through dark-rimmed spectacles,
turned a tongue around considered thoughts
that vied for voice.
In a flash, you held back
eager sperm-like phrases
in favour of a diamond-eyed glint,
before you spoke the timbre of imagined rest.
I wondered who you were in that evening circle –
just as I wonder now.
You just came to me –
as if I were high in a mountain stream, surrounded by parakeets,
and the echo of flowers talking to the wind –
as if you put a hand in the pocket of your overcoat,
and produced a map for me to read.
Written in memory and honour of my friend Mike Hegarty. Inspired by "To Mick Joyce in Heaven" by Seamus Heaney - to be found in "District and Circle" - first read on Friday 18 May 2007 in Adare.