Contemporary Irish Poetry Featured Writer: Mark Roberts

Three Poems              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

Mark Roberts is a Sydney based writer, critic and publisher. He is a founding editor of Rochford Street Review and is the curator of the current feature on Contemporary Irish Poetry which has run through issue 22 of the Review.

Most of Mark’s family on his mother side left Ireland in the second half of the 19th century, driven out by the famine and a dislike for English oppression. Over generations in Australia they maintained their sense of ‘Irishness’ and, at times, that Irishness has found its way into Mark’s work.

Mark founded Rochford Street Press in the early 1980s to publish a literary magazine called P76. Rochford Street Press has also published a number of books, pamphlets and chapbooks over the years and is recognised as one one of the smallest literary presses in the  world.

Mark’s own work has been widely published in magazines and journals in Australia and overseas. Concrete Flamingos, a collection of his recent work was published by Island Press in 2016 and he currently has a few new projects in flight.

Books

P76 Magazine

Website

Mark Roberts: Three Poems

Biographical Note              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

Leaving Roscommon – Strokestown Park
The Conscription Vote – 1916/17
Cities that are not Dublin

P .

Leaving Roscommon – Strokestown Park 
(Gorta Mór)

We drive out of the grounds of Strokestown Park,
the chill in our bones a reminder of a history
that follows us down these short country roads.

A land that tugs at memory. My grandfather’s
stories of why the English can’t be trusted:
grain exported while his grandparents starved,
his mother hung by her hair from a roof beam.

These things are hard to forget,
even across generations.

Back to Contents

P .

The Conscription Vote – 1916/17

History lies here, buried deep. Two bodies
laid neatly, face down. The male, head facing
the old road, the female on top of him, her head
resting on his feet – a better fit in the narrow grave.
A layer of stones to stop wild dogs searching for food.
Almost 100 years now, local victims of an imperial war.
Old Jack told everyone that his son had “eloped off” with that
“Paddy” girl. Better that way, he didn’t have to see their bastard
children or write his son out of his will. But there were rumours of
ghostly songs drifting down the hill above the farmhouse on moonless
nights. But life went on. Years later Jack went to his grave without a Catholic
………………………………………………………………………………in the family.

.

Australian voters were asked in October 1916, and again in December 1917, to vote on the issue of conscription. Irish Australians played a leading role in the defeat of both votes.

Back to Contents

P .

Cities that are not Dublin

I have a plan for reading Ulysses – actually more than reading it, finishing it. Today i am going to Neilsen Park alone with a picnic lunch. I will start reading next to the harbour, easing my way into the sections I have already read. Then tomorrow night I am travelling to Melbourne by train and plan to sit up all night and read.

I make good progress, sitting against an old Morton Bay Fig Tree, reading familiar pages, looking up occasionally at a city which is not Dublin.

**

This train is called the Spirit of Progress. It has dark brown leather seats, and the blue Vicrail carriages look out of place at Central Station. There is a little reading light above each seat that can stay on all night.

I read for hours and sleep briefly in the early morning. I am thick into Joyce when i sit up at the bench in the restaurant car and eat breakfast. My coffee splashes into the saucer as the train emerges into the morning.

**

Central …………………………Dublin Connolly

Strathfield ……………….. ……Tara Street

Moss Vale …………………. ….Dublin Pearse

Golburn……………………     .. Lansdowne Road

Yass Junction…………. . ….. ..Sandymount

Junee……………………..         Sydney Parade

Wagga Wagga………… ..  ….. Blackrock

The Rock………………. …….  Dun Laoghaire Mallin

Albury…………………… .        Sandycove & Glasthule

Wangaratta……………………  Bray Daly

Benella……………………   ..   Kilcoole

Spencer Street…………….    . Street Gorey

**

I am staying in Marie and Andy’s flat in Fitzroy Street, just above Leo’s Spaghetti Bar. They have gone away for the weekend and I have the flat to myself.

The flat has a curved balcony & large windows overlooking the street. Andy’s drum kit is in the corner and three of Marie’s paintings are hanging on the wall. The largest is of a crumbled tube of toothpaste.

You can’t see the bay but you can smell it when the wind blows in the right direction.

**

You can see the tram-stop from the balcony. It is twilight and I watch people getting on and off the trams. The sun has disappeared over the city and it feels like I’m watching a European film.

I see a man get off the tram. He is wearing a suit and a hat and looks very different to everyone else in the street. His suit seems to be cut from a heavy material and he is wearing heavy lace up boots. I watch him cross the street. He checks his watch and then enters the old Sportsman’s Bar.

I go into the kitchen and put the kettle on to make a cup of tea. Russian Caravan. I take it back to my vantage point just as he leaves the bar.

He is now with a another man, shorter and stockier and wearing a similar style of clothes. They walk down Fitzroy Street toward the bay. They stop and stand discussing something on the footpath outside the aqua coloured block of flats for almost five minutes. Then the second man hails a cab. The man in the hat walks back to the tram-stop and catches a tram back to the city.

I think of what has just taken place. I imagine a story. A meeting in the bar. A drug deal or organising a small scale robbery or perhaps just a drink with a friend and a discussion about football. I think of how that twenty minutes in the bar fits into the man’s schedule and begin to imagine what he has done today. Was he at work? Where in Melbourne he has travelled? Does he have a family? Who he has meet and what will he do now?

**

On my last night in Melbourne I go to a party. It is in High Street Armadale & Marie gives me a lift in her old Mazda. The party is in a flat at the back of a laundromat which is still open when we arrive.

A strobe light is is cutting the party to fragments and slinging them, three a second through cracks in the door. Hip Melbourne boys are wearing pointed black shoes & the girls all seem to be dressed in orange and green. I start talking to the only woman dressed in jeans. She works at the local community radio station and lives round the corner. When she learns that i am catching the train back to Sydney in the morning she gives me a crunched up ball of foil. Harsh crumbs for the trip she tells me.

As we leave the party, walking past the now closed laundromat, I see the streetlights reflected in pools of water along Commercial Road. A couple is having an argument at a tram-stop. He is yelling that he loves her. She is yelling at him to fuck off. They are holding hands.

**

O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and the pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

**

Sunset leaving Goulburn. Sydney just over an hour away. I swallow the last crumbs of the hash, & wash it down with a swig of vodka. I want to be ready for the lights of Sydney’s outer suburbs.

‘Cities that are not Dublin’ was runner up in the 2013 joanne burns Award for Prose Poems/Microfiction. It appeared in Writing to the Edge, Spineless Wonders 2014.

Back to Contents

Contemporary Irish Poetry Featured Writer: Michael J. Whelan

Five poems                                                                   Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

photo MW

Michael J. Whelan. photograph by Emily Whelan.

Michael J. Whelan is a soldier-poet and historian. Michael joined the Irish Defence Forces in 1990 and served on tours of duty as a United Nations Peacekeeper during the conflicts in South Lebanon and with the Peace-Enforcement mission to Kosovo. He is curator of the Irish Air Corps Military Aviation Museum Collection at Baldonnel. He is author of two books, The Battle of Jadotville: Irish Soldiers in Combat in the Congo 1961 (2006) and Allegiances Compromised: Faith, Honour and Allegiance – Ex British Soldiers in the Irish Army 1913-24 (2011). Michael’s debut poetry collection, Peacekeeper (Doire Press, 2016), is the first of its kind in Ireland to examine the role of Irish citizens on international peace support missions. He was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and his poetry has been published in Ireland, Mexico, Paris, Indonesia, the UK & USA and is included in The Hundred Years’ War –Anthology of Modern War Poems edited by Nick Astley (Bloodaxe UK, 2014). Awards for Michael’s writing include 2nd Place and two Commendations in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Awards, 3rd Place in the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards, a short listing in the Over the Edge –New Writer of the Year and the Red Line Book Festival Awards. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Modern History from National University of Ireland, Maynooth

 

Peacekeeper (2016) is available from Doire Press: http://www.doirepress.com/writers/m_z/michael_whelan/

Michael J. Whelan’s Blog: https://michaeljwhelan.wordpress.com/

Michael J. Whelan: Five poems

Biographical note                                                           Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

Days of Peace
Children of the War
Nectar of War
Old Man’s Tears
Deranged

P .

Days of Peace

There weren’t many birds
in the hills of South Lebanon
when I was a peacekeeper,
they were never a feature
of the historic landscape
that I can remember

except for the vultures
circling up high on summer thermals,
the smaller creatures had all been killed
by the time the spring had ended,
nothing to stir poetics in a future poet.
But there were times during days of peace
when villages came to life
with the call to prayers from ancient minarets
when the local people spoke
of a recent Barhah – a gift from God,

the moment when they personally encountered
a new born child and the Adhan was recited –
the first words a baby hears
(a call to prayers whispered into the left ear),
and I think now how abundant the skies must have been
before the crusades

and how many times since
a new born child
has encountered that same call to prayers.

Back to Contents

P .

Children of the War

Peacekeeping in Kosovo

Once, on the outskirts of a future memory,
we stopped our convoy
on a narrow road
near a fallen tree.
I was in the lead vehicle
bringing supplies to a forgotten village
the war had touched,
our first time on that ground.
The tree blocked the route
as if booby-trapped.

There was movement in the woods
as we pushed through,
we didn’t shoot.
It was good to see them,
we drove by and they came in to view
hands raised high- begging.
The ambush turned out
to be scared children
weary of uniforms,
we gave them chocolate
for their little victory.
There was nothing to fear
though they didn’t know it
when they saw us coming
and in the long run of things
their tactics worked –
their smiles keep me awake sometimes.

Back to Contents

P .

Nectar of War

The ground could feel them,
returning to nests with the arsenals
of their colonies,
rotors vibrating the air
on convoys of black silhouettes
zipping by,
dozens of helicopters
swarming overhead
like eager wasps,
tail-booms jutting out
like giant stings
with artillery pieces,
heavy mortars and vehicles
slung beneath their painted bodies
like sacs full of the nectar of war.

Back to Contents

P .

Old Man’s Tears

Kosovo

Wandering through ashes and misery
of memories daily desired,
landscapes of loving existence entwined
to a day of infamy fired.
Why graves in back garden we enquired
through interpreter we witnessed tragedy,
for old man’s tears trapped on beard
told a story of brutal savagery.
Burnt shell of home – on hurting ground,
daughters and wives ravaged within sight of sons.
All put to death by order of state
in front of old eyes,
no more to sire ungrateful children.

Back to Contents

P .

Deranged

Kosovo, Winter 2001

Cold day
Rain
Old woman
Damaged
Smelled
Ancient urine
Matted hair
Dirty clothes
Filthy skin
Living
In ruin
Burnt out shell
Hungry
Dying
Weeping
Gone mad
Charred remains
Her family
Inside home
Inside her
Murdered
Fearful
Of strangers
Would not be helped
Could not
Deranged

 

photo MW

Michael J. Whelan. photograph by Emily Whelan.

Contemporary Irish Poetry Featured Writer: Alice Kinsella

Five Poems ....................Contemporary Irish Poetry Index


Alice Kinsella was born in Dublin in 1993, and raised in the west of Ireland. She holds a BA(hons) in English Literature and Philosophy from Trinity College Dublin.

Her poetry has been widely published at home and abroad, most recently in Banshee Lit, Boyne Berries, The Stony Thursday Book and The Irish Times. Her work has been listed for competitions such as Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition 2016, Jonathan Swift Awards 2016, and Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Competition 2017.

Her debut pamphlet Flower Press will be published in 2018.

Alice Kinsella can be found at aliceekinsella.com or at her Facebook author’s page https://www.facebook.com/AliceEKinsella

 

Alice Kinsella: Five Poems

Biographical Note              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

Tír na nÓg
Rose
Sweetheart, come
And what, what are we giving to our children?
When – A video Poem

 .

Tír na nÓg

In lieu of history classes we learned legends of warriors,
fierce fighting Fianna we were sure lived in our blood.

Neart ár ngéag

We waved ash branches for swords,
flew down hills on steeds with wheels,
foraged berries, scaring magpies with screams,
cleared the stream in one leap – this was our land.

My favourite was always the story
of Oisín, little deer bard boy,
bravest of band of brothers,
tempted by beauty and promises,
he left for the land of the young.

We watched the tape of Into the West
while eating beans on toast
we pretended we’d cooked in camp fires,
you laughing at my Dublin dialect
dissolving with Wild West warrior words.

Beart de réir ár mbriathar

Ears hanging on the telling of legends
round camp fires, the memories of
stories, the bravery of Oisín the poet
prince and his fairy love laying siege
to time with their eternal youth.

You’d run home in half-dark before bedtime,
I’d watch the film to the end,
read the whole story in the illustrated book

learning that no amount of love
could keep him in the land without death
that the call of age would always test.

Glaine ár gcroí

One snap of the rope, the saddle strap broke,
the fall of a warrior that could not keep fighting.

Back to Contents

 .

Rose

I.

Take these petals.
Let me lay this offering at your feet.

I bring you red roses
like a lover.

I will not leave you
with lilies,

and their deathly associations.
I’d imagine you’re tired of them.

Watch white hands drop red tears
one by one into the black.

II.

The rose bush is coming into bloom again.
It has decided to forgive the winter.

It’s going to give this another try.

The flourish of flowers is burying
the thorns loading its leafy limbs,

but you can still prick your finger
on the spindle that wants your sleep,

can still slit your skin
as you reach to pluck its offering.

Though,
then

your hurt hand will hold beauty
to see you through the pain.

Back to Contents

 .

Sweetheart, come
I.M. Emma Hauck.

I cannot claim to understand
how they locked you away
like a corpse in waiting,

how he turned his eyes from you
and your letters went unsent
as you pleaded for him to

Komm Komm Komm
Herzensschatzi komm.

I cannot ask you to understand
that terminal is not a word
you should have heard.
That they should have

come come come
to you.

How were you to know
you are not the only one
bleeding into words
breeding love in letters
scrawled ten thousand times.

Sweetheart,

I do not have your tongue
only your prayer
that someone may

come –

Back to Contents

 .

And what, what are we giving to our children?
For Aoibhe

She uses words new to her
and finds her way around the ones
she doesn’t know yet like a maze.
Tells me the marble looks like oil.
I know what she means:
its iridescent curve, blues, greens, purples
moving as it spins like the film of oil
on the surface of the sea riding the waves,
shining rainbows on lakes and streams
or every puddle she’s ever seen.

I think how our mothers
would not have known
that comparison at her age.

On Trá Mór we leave our footprints
in the peat-like drowned forest,
examine evacuated shells,
we find a Mermaid’s purse,
the leathery pocket shed by a shark
in its first moments.

Mum remembers what it said on the news:
They’ve found a superbug in the bay,
it has come in on currents from the city.
We drop the shells, wipe our shoes,
use anti-bac wipes on our hands
the whole way home.

Back to Contents

 .

When’ – A video poem by Alice Kinsella released on International Women’s Day 2017.

‘When’ is a poem by Alice Kinsella based on the Rudyard Kipling poem ‘If’. ‘If’ is a poem famous for its inspiring advice on how to be a man. It is a beautiful and motivational poem but, as with much of the literary canon, ‘If-’ is written by a man for men. ‘When’ is written with the intention of being inspiring and appealing to women, while honouring the original poem. It is written for every woman.

The video features sixteen female poets: Anamaria Crowe Serrano, Kerrie O’Brien, Day Magee, Natasha Helen Crudden, Anne Tanam, Elliot Furlong Tigue, Deirdre Daly, Alvy Carragher, Fiona Bolger, Rosita Sweetman, Lynn Harding, Clara Rose Thornton, Jess Traynor, Amy Dwyer, Ingrid Casey and Alice Kinsella.

Back to Contents

Contemporary Irish Poetry Featured Writer: Kimberly Campanello

Six Poems              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

 

Kimberly Campanello was born in Elkhart, Indiana, and is a dual American and Irish citizen. Her poetry include Consent (Doire Press, 2013), Imagines (New Dublin Press, 2015/ICAD prizewinner), and Strange Country (2015), her full-length collection on the sheela-na-gig stone carvings. Eyewear Publishing released her version of the Hymn to Kālī in May 2016. ZimZalla will publish  MOTHERBABYHOME, a book of conceptual and visual poetry next year. In summer 2017, poems from MOTHERBABYHOME will appear in Laudanum Publishing’s second chapbook anthology alongside work by Fran Lock and Abigail Parry. Kimberly’s play Constance and Eva – about the revolutionary sisters Constance Markiewicz and Eva Gore-Booth – will be produced in London at Bread and Roses Theatre in September 2017.

Books:

Selected Interviews:

Kimberly Campanello reads her poem “April, Dublin” in the UCD Special Collections Reading Room. Part of the Irish Poetry Reading Archive.

Kimberly Campanello Six Poems

Biographical Note              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

Now
Bucranium
VERSE 4 from Hymn to Kālī
VERSE 9 from Hymn to Kālī
Love Poem as Reflection, as Presence
VERSE 16 from Hymn to Kālī

P .

Now

I.

Now the wracked bodies
of charred rabbits
have disappeared
from the fields
and the village is flooded
with people who can’t
speak the language.
Each day we help each other
peel back our eyelids
despite the sun.
We prepare food
with a rusting knife
made by a child
we don’t know
laboring
on the other side of the world.
We sharpen
a hundred pencils each
and work on new lines
to press into our palms
new veins to line our legs
new omniscience
to goad our hearts.

II.

To displace
the obelisk’s
stacked stone
To invent new trumpets
tubas saxophones
To march
To attack first with rosemary
then predictions
to demand money
to accept tears
To run up the street
from our offices
in high heels
to grab our babies
to feed them
from our breasts
then and there
To light candles
in the grotto
to light so many
it will explode

III.

I squat over these rising white ribbons,
these maggots reaching
and twisting themselves

from a rotting leg joint.
They promise me
there are salves

for all of this.
Salves stronger
than nuclear waste

with a smell
that could fill a church
like incense.

Biologists say
a maggot’s whole body
is covered with ocular cells,

eyes that never blink.
They always
respond to the light.

Back to Contents

P .

Bucranium

Copper kills sperm offerings, you see.
An old knowledge. That, and its
T-shape hovers and bounces
along womb walls, evicting occupants.
A bucranium within a bucranium.
Bull’s head and horns of the goddess.
Uterus and fallopian tubes. The coil.

Once we drilled holes in her stone belly,
filled them with branches and antlers
spreading outward like a child’s fingers
reaching for an egg. Once we carved
a triangle above her pubis
for the bull’s nose breathing
heat, rustling and shining wet
before the charge. Once we handed the ear
to the man who killed best. The heavy
body falling. The throngs rising
to their feet. Or we snatched rosettes
tied to the horns, twirled their
stems in our fingers, brought the petals
to our noses. And all of this means
something. Perhaps then, as now.

Now, this act of gynecology—someone
must reach in and twirl its strings
so we can know it’s still there.
Will it be me, or you? Copper
kills sperm offerings, you see. Once we
excarnated our corpses. Crows
tore skin from fat, fat from flesh,
exposed the bull’s horns for the first time.

Back to Contents

P .

VERSE 4 from Hymn to Kālī

O Dakṣiṇā

you’ve got me covered

.

you sever all my attachment

and shake this world’s bleeding head

.

you give me the signs

that I am lucky

and safe

.

and that I don’t

have to wander

searching

.

I only have to carry your lotus

in my palm

to enjoy its scent

Back to Contents

P .

VERSE 9 from Hymn to Kālī

so what can I
say to show you
I know you

you the origin

even the big
gods admit
they can’t explain

O Darkness Itself

forgive me
for trying

Back to Contents

P .

Love Poem as Reflection, as Presence

When bones
heal
we say
they knit
themselves
together.
Are we
plaiting ourselves
together
like the bones
of tantric dance aprons
human remains
carved first
sized perfectly
dipped
in liquid
to preserve
colour
for at least
1,000 years?
Or are we
mostly
shattered
stacked upon
ourselves
making
ourselves
substantial
like catacomb
arrangements?
And now
are you
slicing
and pulling
back
my scalp
to see
my skull’s
growth lines
proof
that I
have been?
Am I
seeing
your lines
right through
your skin?
Are you
coming
closer
closer
so I’ll crack
you open
and drink?

Back to Contents

P .

VERSE 16 from Hymn to Kālī

on Tuesdays I tear out a strand
of my beloved’s hair
cover it in my wetness
bring it to the graveyard at noon

for you O Kālī with you

I don’t give a shit
about death
my feet don’t even
touch the ground

Back to Contents

Poet Kimberly Campanello reads her poem “Chloran” in the UCD Special Collections Reading Room. Part of the Irish Poetry Reading Archive.

Contemporary Irish Poetry Featured Writer: Noel Duffy

Four Poems ....................Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

Noel Duffy’s debut collection, In the Library of Lost Objects, appeared with Ward Wood Publishing, London, in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish poet. His second collection On Light & Carbon followed in 2013. His most recent collection, Summer Rain, was published in summer 2016, again with Ward Wood. His poetry has been published widely in Ireland and beyond, including in Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times and The Financial Times, and has also been broadcast on RTE Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. He lives in Dublin.

Website:
http://noelduffy.net/poetry/

Books

Reviews and Articles

 

 

Noel Duffy: Four Poems

Biographical Note              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

The Department of Dead Letters
The Botanical Gardens
Darkroom Notes
The Island

P .

The Department of Dead Letters

There is a man among us who knows secrets.
He gets up when night comes, looks
at the outline of the woman’s body, a question mark
against the sheets as he dresses quickly
and leaves her there asleep. He is already late,
but then everything is his life is late, or lost
as he retrieves his car from the apartment carpark
to make his nightshift at the sorting depot.
There it is his duty to piece together the clues
and runes of misspelt addresses, the half-remembered
names, the scrawling handwriting, undecipherable;
the lost love letters or wedding invitations
written to those long since parted or departed –
to try, at least, to find a place to return them to,
so the one who sent them may know they went
undelivered, touched only by his hands.
This work his solitary calling as he inspects
the items from the tray, delicately lifting one
from the pile as he applies steam to the yellowed
parchment, his hand a soft caress to ease it open
to find there a cursive script but no return address,
the loss so carefully expressed, now his and his only.

Back to Contents

P .

The Botanical Gardens

You lean down close to the blossom, inhale deeply;
the stem straight, the perfect contours of the stamen,
the tight, precise folds of containing petals. There is
a sadness in the opulent grace of such things whose
season is passing. The August sunshine suddenly
darkens, the cloud thickening to rain. I take your hand
as we run to take cover, passing beneath the creepers
that climb the arching ironwork trellis of the entrance
to the rose garden. You pull tight your yellow overcoat
and we hurriedly make our way towards the shelter
of the vaulting glass of the Victorian palm house,
the slam of humid heat that meets us as we enter,
the intense odour of sweat reminding us of ourselves.
You shake away the rain and laugh as an old couple
walk past slowly, holding hands, carrying each other along,
like the century flower that blooms only once in its lifetime,
but endures so many seasons to continue so.

Back to Contents

P .

Darkroom Notes

The print lies in the tray, the image of the hotel
emerging in the red sundown of the darkroom,
the filigree of the ironwork window boxes painted over
in the double-exposure of memory’s flashbulb
and the rust of time passing. What stories lie behind
these boarded-up windows overlooking the promenade,
the sea still washing up against the harbour wall,
yet forgetful of everything: the women in their
tightened corsets and flounce of tresses, attended upon;
the men in their bowler hats and spotted neckties;
the reliquary of old, faded postcards of the silver-nitrate
past as the ghosts of maids continue to walk the corridors
ascending and descending staircases that lead nowhere
in the stopped watch of someone else’s afterlife.
And the figure of a man caught in the scene, standing
beneath the spotlight of a street lamp, staring back at me.

Back to Contents

P .

The Island

We approach the jetty by a narrow path
the boat shifting with the lake’s waters.
I hold your hand as you step
from the wooden platform in half-shadow
to the rocking seat, the cradling bow
measuring your weight as it tilts slightly
beneath you, the water lapping against the hull.
I climb onto the seat behind you, push
the oars down deep into the surface,
the lake receiving my giving force
and we push outward from the bank into
obsidian waters. A crescent moon rises
above the distant treetops of the island,
your shrill laughter echoing in the stillness
the stars plotting our course through darkness
into the night’s forbidden navigations.

Back to Contents

‘Reykjavik’ – a video-poem by Noel Duffy