I think they come from
the land of transfiguration.
The poet builds clumsy tents,
as Peter wanted to for Moses, Elijah,
and Jesus. I cannot picture that land
having anything to do with perfection.
So, more in keeping with the poor
in spirit, the meek, they who mourn.
Or perhaps the ideas come
from the land of Willow Pattern:
pagodas, lakes, islets,
old folk crossing a bridge,
or maybe they are young folk –
difficult to know which
under their little hats.
A woman, an Irish poet, once gave me
A blurred colour snapshot – it looked
Like an old Polaroid – of a small house
Beside a lake. The colours were mainly
Browns, the darker browns the lake
And the reflections of the house in it.
‘I call the photo The Temple,’ she said,
‘Because that was what we called the house.’
This was all years ago. Evenings,
I sometimes pull out the photo and
Look it at it. I, too, call it The Temple.
Not for the house on the shore, but for
What is upside-down in the lake.
What temples feel like.
Richard W. Halperin 's work is part of University College Dublin's Irish Poetry Reading Archive. He has published four collections via Salmon Poetry, Cliffs of Moher, with a fifth listed for 2020; and eleven shorter collections via Lapwing, Belfast, with a twelfth listed for 2020.