Patricia Fargnoli was the New Hampshire Poet Laureate from December 2006 to March 2009.

This lyrical poem is from a collection titled Duties of the Spirit. Ilya Kaminsky has described this collection as:

….. filled with names, situations, invocations, animals, human characters of strangers and dear ones, dying and staying alive at whatever’s the cost.

Though that sounds like it might be filled with morbidity and sadness, the poem here celebrates the Emerald Isle and life itself.

It shows us a composer-violinist playing a lively, passionate Irish jig that reminds us to live life as if we’re running along the sun-bright cliff-edge, in the rollicking sea-wind and with the absolute abandon of a joyful animal. Just the thought of this kind of free running/living is enough to get the adrenalin going, isn’t it?

and I am back in Connemara where even

the pasture stones have names and the green

slopes are plentiful with stones and the sea-wind

Ireland is a place that everyone must visit at least once in their lifetime — especially writers, musicians, and artists/photographers. Firstly, because of the inspiring and rich storytelling traditions that go all the way back to the Pagan times, before the many invaders arrived at her shores and plundered her riches. And then, of course, because of how, despite her many troubled times, Ireland still stands lovely and proud today, her beauty more powerful and muse-like than ever.

Fargnoli refers to Connemara, one of the most beautiful regions of the country. Mostly, it is the western part of County Galway. To this day, it is the largest Gaelic-speaking region in Ireland. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean (“the plum-blue ocean”) on the West, the South, and the North, Connemara’s peninsular coast has some of the most stunning and unspoiled landscapes. Some call this place, standing at the very edge of Europe, the real emerald of Ireland. Regardless of the time of day or year, Connemara country is always riotously singing with many different colors. And, in so doing, it inspires us to do the same.

The Composer Says This Is How We Should Live Our Lives

He lifts his violin and gives us the fox
in Ireland running with wild abandon
along the cliff-edge above the wild Irish Sea

and I am back in Connemara where even
the pasture stones have names and the green
slopes are plentiful with stones and the sea-wind

where there are no trees to stop it rollicks
across the commonage and the sea’s a wild rolling
and the composer’s brown hair is whipping around

his young intense face as his arm jigs and swings
the bow across the strings and his body is swaying
and his shoulders are leaping and the music is leaping

and the fox is running with such joy along that cliff
red fox brilliant green pasture cerulean sky
and the wind and the white-capped

plum-blue ocean and a man’s foot measuring time
in the sun that is beyond brilliant and the fox is leaping
forward along the cliff-edge.

~ Patricia Fargnoli, ‘Duties of the Spirit

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