The Children of Maramures

by Peter Riley

Peter Riley

A wooden bowl full of blue and red berries,
fresh from the bushes beside the roads, washed of petrol stains.
Take it: love with reason, their eyes say,
therefore hope, without reserve.
Take the gift, accept the reason, lever our hearts over the barricade
with an explanation.

The children stare wide eyed at the strangers
and smile for ever. The day
moulded out of light, the mutual seed,

springs open in time it costs nothing but persistence.
A linking gesture across the border holds the ring dance open to
the hearth,
where the old ones sit.

Wisps of blue smoke rise from the houses
into the distance. The true moment moves among us,
everyone's work as it works everyone's
fault as it fails, held in the song's return, a hope
balanced on a point of flesh against fate's gerrymandering,

everyone's wish in your tear ever shining

And stabled there. Politicians and clouds
brush the fine heads of the children turned upwards;
a laugh, short and light, rolls down the land,
a reasoned hope in which they turn in the dance, hand on sleeve:
Welcome welcome, bird in the bush, fish in the flood,
futureless presence ringing the earth.

Last updated July 20, 2021