Finn McCool,* by Arianne Templeton ’10
When I choose to trench a river,
I drag my little toe through
dirt, rocks, squiggling worms —
grime under my smallest toe
would bury lesser men
(Girth! Wealth! Patriotism!)
in glorious progress.
I’ve been molding Earth since
before Ireland was serpentless.
Forests snap their trunks above the roots
(count the rings long past 1776)
to make way for squares of cement —
limestone, shale, iron ore, sand —
I’ve mixed them all with whiskey after
the longest days of burying cities.
Tara, being razed to the ground
every year by that hideous monster
for the passing of 23 seasons,
was free when I tamed the destruction —
he was my lapdog until he limped
out of decrepitude to nothing.
Some white-beard highwayman shouted
when I de-clawed the dragon:
“new life springs from under piles of ash,
and fire cleans the dead leaves from the grass.
We gloried in the green.”
I ground his soft skull to make my stew
Many are the Giant’s Causeways
you should thank me for.
From the first causeway,
with rounded pillars and friendliness
that invites tourists to clamber on it
that I drummed up
while skipping rocks from Antrim beach,
to my latest sky stairway in Dubai.
You’ve heard it was built by men?
Time was, you’d have known it was Finn
and your human knees would’ve quaked.
But even though you’ve forgotten I can
twist California off like the end of a ripe bean,
I’ll keep bulldozing mushroom clouds into myself.
*According to Irish folklore, Finn McCool was a giant who created the landscape of Ireland by walking on it. First published in the 2010 Colgate Portfolio.