I have a daughter with eyes as wide and blue as the sky
what advice can I give as she stands before me, smiling
set to fly? There will be days when clouds come in
when rains pour down hard but don’t worry,
I’ve packed your boots, you can sing and splash
dance the dance you learned here in your own back yard.
When you face each new day with dreams in one hand and trust in the other
and in return the world gives you disillusionment and disappointment
when the wind has been taken completely out of your sails
and you’ve been knocked so hard in the solar plexus
that you can’t even breathe, believe me when I say
those will be the days when you will know the sweetness of air
as each breath enters your lungs. I want you to put the star into
starting over and over and over again, put the free into fall and as you do,
spread your wings, swoop and glide and when you land, girl you stand tall.
Tonight I’m unfurling a kite, it will fly with Cassiopeia and the Milky Way,
keep you eyes fixed on it and, if at times it moves out of view, don’t worry, it has gone beyond where your eyes can’t see, it will always be there for you.
I’ve made a map and now I’m letting you go because you know this map off by heart.
It’s got names old and new and names from beyond the order of time.
It’s got touch stones and place names too
Craghan, Trory, Friday’s Land, Coa
Enniskillen, Newcastle, Belfast, Kilcar
Downings. Bundoran, Chang Mai, Lacoste
Teelin, Pubble, Elswick, Swad.
Slip this map into the back of your book
the one you’re writing with the new chapter.
Oh and by the way I’ve packed a multi-coloured pen
Write the next chapter big, write it bold and my restless seeker
from this place within my heart, I shall watch it unfold.
There’s a beat in this night
that rises from the heat of the rain-drenched streets
there are eyes in the beams
raining tears on the beer garden of the pub
where you stood and asked about love from every passer-by
and they told you through smoke rings and wedding rings
of love that sings and catches the heart in the part where it hurts
of love that cries and dies and phoenixes itself up
from the ashes of the soul
and the woman at your side holds the moon in her arms.
Some spoke of stars and scars
and a beauty within that scorches the mind
and dances to danger with a stranger holding its hand
some told of the broken, the unspoken
a man who was leaving stopped to say
that he had found love in the place
where the lonely go to dream. A girl with green eyes
said love was a sentence without a full stop
a passage rite into salty waters in a boat with glass sides.
And still you asked and still you stood
and still you wondered why, yet no answers found
until it did seem as you leaned into the night under those beams
that held up the sky that love had indeed lingered with you
and then passed you by while you were blowing smoke rings at the stars
and the woman at your side holds the moon in her arms
the moon in her arms
the moon in her arms.
Moon Keeper was shortlisted for the 2017 Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing.
Teresa Kane has worked as a freelance journalist for the BBC and has a long history of working with children in their poetry writing. She is currently Principal of Magherlough Primary School, Trillick.