In 1996, while listening to the readings of the Gaelic poet, Sorley McLean, shortly after his death, I wrote a poem inspired by the rhythms of his work, and by the astounding age and silence of the surface of the Moon - its regolith. The poem is called Gealach, the Gaelic word for the Moon.
Rough, ruined tilth,
Draped in grey blankets by time's stony rain,
Over frozen circles of rock.
Scarred by its careless spray,
Gardening the plains, so slow.
Air and water do not caress,
The cold of dark chills,
Those deep parched shadows,
Else each pore be raped by Sol,
To sweetly shine.
Beautiful, solemn world,
Ultimate peace in charcoal hue,
Trembles, and a ship arrives,
First corruption from a booted foot.
Fragments of life become aware,
Within their white cocoon protected,
Of ageless hurt from punching falls,
On a frontier cast anew,
Revealed by an Irish pledge.