Brú na Bóinne (Valley of the Boyne, Ireland)
It’s deep time here, this barrow grave five thousand years old,
where we follow like sheep behind the guide to the heart
of its cruciform center. I’ve never been in a space so dark.
What was it like to live then, to fear that the sun would not return,
that crops would whither, deer flee? That night’s dark cloak
was all there was? But miraculously, on the lip of the solstice,
the light returned, liquid and golden, ran down the narrow corridor,
hit the back wall, splashed in the stone basin, and they knew summer
would come back, run to fruit. Light, dark, freeze, thaw, seedtime,
harvest, wheel of the year, the spiral dance. What would they make
of our device-laden lives, fossil-fueled cars, over-stocked larders?
Who stands in the dark and listens now, gaping up at the stars?
Barbara Crooker’s previous publications are: The Valparaiso Poetry Review, South Carolina Review, Tar River Review, The Hollins Critic, The Green Mountains Review, The Denver Quarterly, The Bedford Introduction to Literature, and Garrison Keiller’s Good Poems for Hard Times and Good Poems American Places, plus her work has been read twenty times on his Writer’s Almanac. She has been fortunate to receive poetry writing fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her books are Radiance, winner of the Word Press First Book Award (2005) and finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance (Word Press, 2008), winner of the 2009 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence; More (C&R Press, 2010); and Gold (The Poeima Poetry Series, Cascade Books, 2013).