The Girls of Goat Island

4 May 2016

Goat Island is a secluded beach west of Ardmore, Ireland that can be found via a windy lane signposted for Goat Island. It was awarded the Green Coast Award for 2015.


Every morning in every season
they come to swim
the southern coast
of Goat Island.

From spring jackets and skirts
they emerge in blue bathing suits
bare legs skimming across
a cavernous beach,
heads capped in white.

Like a bevy of birds
they dip in the tide,
stroke imperceptibly out,
circle back to themselves
these girl-women.

Their shape takes the form
of the sea,
sinuous as an eyelid,
sharp as a forgotten sound.

Without a white cap, I stand out—
bare-haired, American.

After a swim they strip naked
powder breasts and towel
bottoms, hover inside
limestone hewn before time
was a word or an abstract.

They huddle close,
dress and laugh,
at ease with their bodies,
each other.

But the vigor of May
makes me shiver:
this soft Irish rain mixed
with talk, bare limbs
and wet rock.

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