"Passage Tomb"

with thanks to

Philip Carr-Gomm,

Tom Cowan,

R.J. Stewart,

Martin Duffy,

Annette Peard,


Jason Kirkey

Two trees form a gate.

For hours...I stand...contemplating: Threshold.

Past, present, future.

The 'who' or 'what' one was "once upon a time".

The 'who' or 'what' one will be --- terrain not yet entered.

This is how landscapes and soul,

and landscapes in the soul,

are woven.


I ponder my "Fool's Journey".

Giving voice to the Great Wound so many felt (and still feel);

diasporic orphans of Alba and Cymru and Eire

disconnected from primal lands

disconnected from ancestors

disconnected from ways of connecting with primal lands and ancestors.


Mine was surely a fool's errand,

and, thus, I was branded a fool.


How many of you have been deemed a fraud

by those who've ne'er even met you?

How many of you have lived under a cloud of threats?

How many of you have had false narratives about you

spun-up like a froth

involving deeds you weren't even around for?

It's surreal, to be sure.

Should you ever find yourself in similar straits,

I can only offer you one piece of advice.

If a poisoned banquet is laid out for you,

the Hermit Road

will take you

to much better feasting.


--after Jenny Blain, with thanks to Jenny Blain

Regrets? Oh, yes.


My one regret was a scholarly misstep.

Back to that whole Fool's Journey thing.

It was kind of like trying to give someone directions

and handing them the wrong street names

and all of the wrong house numbers.

Note to all travelers of the Valley of Ghosts:

It's all far, far older than you might at first think.

As for me...

I was a kid then, and I've never been much of a scholar.

But a single whiff of hazelnut baccy (tobacco)

and I'm back there in a jiffy.


Just like The Fool on the first card of the tarot,

his seeker's nose nuzzled deep in blossoms of memory as he steps off a cliff,

I still remember a night in Wicklow

when I nearly fell from the slippery rocks above Glendalough.

All in pursuit of "the great thread of re-connection".

I would have tumbled to my death 20-ft below,

smashing limbs and back and neck and face on the wet rocks.

Somehow, though, the ferns caught me as I grasped at them.

I managed to scamper back up the cliff to solid ground.

Somehow, some way, I had help.

An O'Sullivan from Tipperary was with me.

He was just as shocked as I was

to encounter the glowing eyes waiting for us

once we were topside.

We both had a chill on our neck.

I asked: "Sheep?"

He replied: "Hopefully not Cu Sidhe."*

I returned to Dublin the next morning

to find emails from my mother, writing in from Georgia.

You wouldn't know it by looking at her, but she's quite the seer.

In all caps, her email read:



Wherever you are,

it is COLD, and WET, and it feels like you're in DANGER."

A mother's love reaches across the nine waves.

I decided to wait until I was Stateside again

to tell her I nearly became a pile of bones

just down from the Spinc and Saint Kevin's Church.


Looking back, I realize now,

what I'd hoped would be a matter of re-knitting worlds

and healing wounds

was simply a symptom

of the trauma of ancestral forgetfulness.

At least my bumbling Fool's Journey

produced three unequivocal kernels of knowing:

The Otherworld is real.

The Otherworld is inhabited.

The Otherworld is separated from us by the thinnest of membranes.


Two trees form a gate.

The gate leads to a grove.

With uncovered feet, I step through

into the Land of Renewal.

image: "Passage Gate" / Frank "Hawk" Owen / Island Ford, Chattahoochee Forest

*Cu Sidhe is an infamous black dog in Irish lore.