Wake: Up to Poetry
Poem of the Week: “Studying the Language” by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
Studying the Language
On Sundays I watch the hermits coming out of their holes
Into the light. Their cliff is as full as a hive.
They crowd together on warm shoulders of rock
Where the sun has been shining, their joints crackle.
They begin to talk after a while.
I listen to their accents, they are not all
From this island, not all old,
Not even, I think, all masculine.
They are so wise, they do not pretend to see me.
They drink from their scattered pools of melted snow:
I walk right by them and drink when they have done.
I can see the marks of chains of around their feet.
I call this my work, these decades and stations—
Because, without these, I would be a stranger here.