Two Poems

by Paula Meehan Issue: Spring 2016

A Sonnet for Gary Snyder on his 80th Birthday


To sit an hour in gratitude, the heart
opening to dustmote sunbeam deep shade
in this sequoia grove the mind expands
to the edge of the forest which is the edge

of mind where I see the enchanted path
in and through the teeming forest of childhood,
your poetry written on my empty hands,
the leaves, your pages dreaming a whole age:

its mysteries writ clear as a star chart
across the heavens — the trail you have blazed —
O to be alive! The blest holy land
beneath my bare feet, humble and privileged;

to follow after, to walk the same earth,
to get down and kiss the ground of your birth.

8th of May, 2010

The Inscription


‘Honour the dust …’ wrote Gary Snyder
in my old copy of No Nature
before Bella, our beloved dog,
got her teeth into it. Now dog eared,
well chewed, much annotated, it sits
on a bockety shelf right beside
the well made box wherein lies her wag,
her bark, her growl, her lick, her rapture
of devotion — her dust we honour.

from Geomantic, Dedalus Press, Dublin, 2016



Paula Meehan

Paula Meehan was born in Dublin where she still lives. She was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and at Eastern Washington University in Washington State. She has published many award winning collections of poetry, notably Dharmakaya and Painting Rain, and has written plays for both adults and children. She was elected to Aosdána, the Irish Academy of Artists, in 1996 and is currently Ireland Professor of Poetry, 2013 – 2016. Her public lectures from the Professorship, Imaginary Bonnets with Real Bees in Them, from UCD Press, and Geomantic, a new collection of poems, from Dedalus Press, were both published in 2016.