A Stroll in Gougane Barra

Where monks walked a thousand years before, I stand. Lost in the baptism of the sky, I wait and wander. I kneel on padded rocks centuries moved and unmoving, disturbing nothing and no one but a solitary bee from his under-tree shelter. The trees and rocks are shrouded in green. I speak to long-dead monks and hear their answers in the moss and in the rain.

Flailing in helplessness, drops of rain move to resignation before landing with a finger tap on the thick cushions of lichen, which wait and catch and wait again. In this deluge of holy water from whence I dare not hide my head, the air smells green, the green of life, an Ireland green. It slips quietly into my nostrils, a fragrance for my God. I drink of the holy well; its moisture sounds in my spirit like the voice of Finnbarr: “Holy . . . holy . . . holy.”

I worship in the rain, in the air, on the rock. I cry out to my God, accusing Him for bringing me here; that I may know of such a place, remember it, and never return.



  1. to remain rooted in primal green
    sacred whispers

    1. I love the congealed nature of this: you squeeze multiple concepts, warm, into a small space.

      1. The beauty of haiku, n’est pas? Really enjoyed this post. I reblogged it to share with my readers,.

  2. Reblogged this on Shiteki Na Usagi and commented:
    My favorite post so far for it echoes my longings for my favorite places in this world, visited and imagined. Do visit and read on the soft green path.

    1. Thanks again–for everything,

  3. Visiting here from Yousei’s site. My spiritual practice for years is to read The Psalms aloud; and like Yousei, I practice haiku. Your last paragraph reminds me of the cries in The Psalms. Sometimes we are given more, but always a walk by faith in this world. Blessings, Ellen

    1. I love reading the Psalms aloud (especially, or maybe only, when I’m alone. The last part of Psalm 24 is my favorite for this: I bellow, “Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.”

  4. oh to be there and see and never return…there are a few places i know like that…nice pics too

    1. Thanks Brian, I have found few places that have the same kind of feel, though kindred certainly not exact: an opening deep in the oak and pine of East Texas and a pond where fireflies were so thick I couldn’t walk without bumping them. I haven’t yet visited, but I imagine Thoreau’s Walden Pond to be such a place.

  5. peaceful and serene, capturing the essence of life – what a place, I wouldn’t want to leave! 🙂

    1. Indeed, leaving was hard though the option of staying was desired but never a reality. One additional observation: those who live in the area are as aware of the magic of the place as visitors. The Tailor and Ansty by Eric Cross and Robert Gibbings’ Sweet Cork of Thee focus on the area and its residents. The latter is a beautiful and loving tale of travels through County Cork.

  6. This is poetry … and I enjoyed entering here-in.

    1. Thank you – kind of you to say.

  7. this is poetry disguised as prose. Beautiful! Specially loved the last line I cry out to my God, accusing Him for bringing me here; that I may know of such a place, remember it, and never return.

    1. Thank you. I’ve received so many kind words about this entry that I hardly know how to respond. While I did not particularly pattern this after his writing, Robert Gibbings was an influence, and his books about his travels along the River Lee and around County Cork paint gorgeous pictures (in prose) of both the land and people of Ireland—worth the time spent in his books.

      1. you’ve just helped me choose my next book! Robert Gibbings it is 🙂

  8. I love the term”Ireland green”

    1. Thanks for saying. I troubled over this line, and in particular this phrasing, more than any other with the exception, I think, of the last.

  9. What a beautiful, graceful piece of writing. Wonderful.

    1. Thank you for saying so. I promise that I cannot do the place justice.

  10. Saw this today (one of the blogs I read) and thought of you. Did you ever visit there?


    Busy, busy today. I’ll check in with you later.

  11. Bless serendipity for leading me to stumble upon your blog. Beautiful!

    1. Big words – thank you for saying so.

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