Author’s Note: “Keenly aware of the transient beauty along the dirt roads in County Claire, Ireland, I began this poem as a way to notice, savor, and hold these precious images close. But I ask: Am I paying attention? Will I remember? And after writing the poem I wonder: What is memory when I am no longer here to remember?”
Old Woman Walking
Remember this fine mist that forms a scrim
between the hills that lead to the vast
flat white that hides the neighboring sea.
Remember the comfort of the ordered stones
that cradle this one-lane road—each a headstone
for the nameless hands that hauled and split
and arranged them into balance.
Never forget how spiderwebs appear and appear
the closer you lean in, till the whole wall shimmers
with glistening silk, and fragile hammocks
hang from rock to rock and sparkle,
even beneath this shrouded sun.
Will you remember the insistent
gravitational force that pulls you away from the wall,
across the path, past the chuckling birds that lace their way
through blackthorn, past even the blazing campanula,
to a small protected field where two cows lie in ruminant silence,
their calves leaning against them?
Katherine J. Williams, associate professor emerita at George Washington University, is an art therapist/clinical psychologist. Her book Still Life will be out in October. Her poems have been published in journals and anthologies including Poet Lore, The Northern Virginia Review, 3rd Wednesday, Voices, Passager, The Poet’s Cookbook, The Widows Handbook, and the anthology How to Love the World, Poems of Gratitude and Hope, edited by James Crews. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Delmarva Review publishes evocative new prose and poetry selected from thousands of submissions annually. Designed to encourage outstanding writing, the journal is nonprofit and independent. Financial support comes from sales, tax-deductible contributions, and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. Website: DelmarvaReview.org.