It was a surprise to see them
discreetly tucked away by the bridge’s shadow.
The concrete flight of stairs
and wrought iron railing, dressed in green.
Half buried in the water
leading into a dark abyss.
Or are they a pathway
leading out of the cold depths instead?
Flowing down from Lough Corrib
under the city’s stone gray bridge
Rushing now in its hast to reach
the openness of Galway Bay.
Gulls, geese and others fly overhead
swans gracefully paddly by, people talk.
Each one ignorant or simply not caring
about the steps leading both nowhere and somewhere.
These steps, they call to me
Coaxing me with the water’s lapping.
Staring into the dark fanthoms
they whisper: peer into the truth.
Why are they here? Where do they go?
How far down til they end? My mind asks
But the honest answer is this:
they represent a visible manifest of life’s highway.
My stairs, dark, alone, silent and forgotten
they hold a coveted key.
Where are we going? Where have we come from?
They silently offer the clues to those who seek.
Peering into the murky darkness of the river’s cold water,
I sit and speculate, she’s like another language.
My hands hold her cold offering and I try to decipher it.
I sense the presense of other souls.
Are they the souls who have perished in the cold ocean depths,
longing to return to port, sinking to a watery grave instead?
Or are they the souls of Galway visitors past,
drawn to the stairs such a I…seeking, listening?
I long to follow the stairs down beyond the water’s hem,
allow myself to sink softly into the cold, silent, dark depths.
Perhaps in this watery, quiet world I will hear the answers
to the questions of my heart.
What lies at the bottom of the stairs?
Like the limitless boundries of outer space
and the fanthomless ideas of undersea worlds.
They are spaces of earth, off limits to us mortals,
always to be a mystery.