And Soul

By Eavan Boland

About the Author

Eavan Boland was born in Dublin in 1944. Her father became the Ambassador of the United Kingdom so her and her family grew up in London. She attended Trinity College where she published 23 different poems there. She graduated from trinity with first class honors in English Literature and Language. She then moved on to be an English Professor at 5 different universities around the world. She now teaches English at Stanford University. Her poem "And Soul" was very famous. This poem relays a theme to the readers that even when times are tough, there will be a bright side. And things will get better.
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And Soul

My mother died one summer—

the wettest in the records of the state.

Crops rotted in the west.

Checked tablecloths dissolved in back gardens.

Empty deck chairs collected rain.

As I took my way to her

through traffic, through lilacs dripping blackly

behind houses

and on curbsides, to pay her

the last tribute of a daughter, I thought of something

I remembered

I heard once, that the body is, or is

said to be, almost all

water and as I turned southward, that ours is

a city of it,

one in which

every single day the elements begin

a journey towards each other that will never,

given our weather,


the ocean visible in the edges cut by it,

cloud color reaching into air,

the Liffey storing one and summoning the other,

salt greeting the lack of it at the North Wall and,

as if that wasn't enough, all of it

ending up almost every evening

inside our speech—

coast canal ocean river stream and now

mother and I drove on and although

the mind is unreliable in grief, at

the next cloudburst it almost seemed

they could be shades of each other,

the way the body is

of every one of them and now

they were on the move again—fog into mist,

mist into sea spray and both into the oily glaze

that lay on the railings of

the house she was dying in

as I went inside.

Conversation: Poet Eavan Boland