The day started with a flurry of gulls
and a single cry, as if I had spoken
and out of the deep cave where my tongue lies
birds were scattering in an open sky.
I went to the rail and watched them rise
over the grey clouds as if the sky were a sea
and the sea was cold now, full of shapes
and the horse-tails of winter.
And I spoke, involuntary
out of a delighted mouth
the old, strange word
Ireland; joy when uttered, grief when heard.