Séamas Carraher – A Prayer for Daniel Minihan

Séamas Carraher was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1956. He lives on the Ballyogan estate, in south County Dublin, at present. Global Rights (http://www.globalrights.info/tag/seamas-carraher/page/8/) recently published a number of his poems on the current situation of the Kurdish communities in northern Kurdistan.  Other pieces can be found at: http://www.seamascarraher.blogspot.ie/  


Prayer for Daniel Minihan

A Prayer for Daniel Minihan
Lost at Sea, 1995,
Aged 21 Years Old

1

Lord of our unholy silence
that leaves us now
like children,
washed out to sea.

Lord of my journey,
returning from the ocean
to a dead town
silenced by winter:

words now fall from my lips
unformed

my life falls
like a prayer
in the silence

all journeys return
to their dark
depth

what never changes
is change,
this city of our losses.

2

This is my farewell, my leavetaking.

i leave you at the railway station
as if we were both balanced
at the edge of life.

My soul must be as deep as an ocean

the silence within,
sorrow.

There is no comfort
for those who mourn:
salt of the earth
salt of the sea
it is grief.

Each of these people
i meet
on my way
pass me in the night

their words freeze in my mind,

i no longer know
what to say,

my heart breaks to see them
my heart breaks to leave them,

we are travellers without
a map,

we pass each other
along hospital corridors.

My friend sleeps at the edge of life
the song of morphine.

3

This cry in the dark again,
a wet stone on a hill
like a lamp.

Your eye, child, is a light
in the darkness:
the light of the world
a city high on a hill

a city of solitude.

4

Lord,

i am a man on
a mountain
My friend disappears in the distance.

i fear being forever separate
on this endless journey,

of never finding home.

i stand at the ocean’s edge
as forsaken as this young man

Daniel Minihan
lost at sea
aged 21 years old.

Daniel,
this prayer for the living
instead of a lament:

we have built our house on sand
instead of rock.

We go astray equally in life
as in death.

5

Lord,

who will hold us
on the day
when our hearts break?

Who will heal the world,
when even the world falls apart?

When we are without name
at the ocean’s edge?

Lord, i would not be saved
if one small child
is still missing at sea.

If these fishermen never
come home,
these fishermen fallen at sea
like these children
lost in life:
our father in heaven.

Lord, i wake each morning.
This is my journey
across an empty ocean,

here, the silence is so great
even your unheard voice
drowns within it:

the sound of still more
sorrow.

6

We all drown within,
as if life were endless
and the dead gone forever.

Despite all we have given up
as children
we still cannot enter
into the kingdom of god.

My absent friend speaks
“if you were to throw a stone
into our loss”,
he says,
“it would never hit the bottom.”

My friend, Charles,
your face no longer
comes to me in my dreams.
We die many times.

We all drown in this pain
of our dreams,
in my dreams
i am alone.

7

We have no port
in this storm

we have no rest
not a hole to hide within
not a refuge

we have nowhere to lay our head.

It is an illusion.
We think we are
the country at
the ocean’s edge,

this ocean is our soul
we will swim or
drown in it.

8

To be born is
to be abandoned in life
like this young man
lost at sea.

Lord, a prayer for his rest,

for our journey’s end
for an end to sorrow.

There will be no end
before its beginning
let it begin.

9

It is as if now there is no end
to sorrow.

Who are we, love
to be ever so far from land?

How can we drown
in our own
essence
even if it holds all
the loss and sorrow
of our strange land?

10

Lord, hold me
for my heart breaks
and it is a world that
breaks and drowns.

Each soul is a world
without beginning
or end

this sorrow, our journey.

Lord, we understand so little:

at the ocean edge
on this journey
on this new day
of the new year
throwing open all our doors…

now let this light of grief
like this young man’s name
on a high hilltop
shine before men,

holy…

 

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