Poem in Shamrocks and Shells

As my friend, Stephen McCormick was about to set off to walk the Camino to Santiago de Compostela a send-off  was arranged. I couldn’t get to it so I wrote a poem to wish him well. I’m so pleased that he has included it in his

Reflections on the Camino del Norte

‘Compostela’ means ‘field of stars’ and it made me think of a photograph that I looked at often during a period where I was feeling low. The camera’s eye was deep under the surface of a pond, looking up along the slender column of a water plant’s stalk, to the underside of the flower;  up through the water to a new and intriguing  sky.



My field of stars

Floats on the meniscus

Of a watery sky

That I look up to.

Sun-glints on its surface

Are my constellations;

My moon,

The shy side of a flower’s parasol,

Drifting. White. Fragile.

But yours –

You will recount

The stones, and dust,

The many beds,

The heat, and dryness,

And the Gift,

Pooling, drop-by-step

At the cowped jar’s rim,

To topple


At your need.


‘cowped’ is an Ulster-Scots word, common in Northern Ireland, meaning ‘over-turned’. It’s pronounced as a single syllable – cowp’d.

Photos: Stephen McCormick

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