21 July 2017

CONVENT GIRL

















They wearied me with prayer.
In the darkening garden of the dene, I stared.
I sought him where the way was unprepared, a wild rose.
The old road with its white line will not come again,
nor my heart with its old-fashioned indicators,
but my riven father
 who knows.

- Gillian Allnutt

17 July 2017

UNTITLED














Still there, somewhere:
the moon off behind the mist
traversing the night.

- Shohaku
(translated by Steven Carter)

12 July 2017

CONSOLATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY




















When we start breaking up in the wet darkness
And the rotten boards fall from us, and the ribs
Crack under the constriction of tree roots
And the seasons slip from the fields unknown to us,

Oh, then there will be the querulous complaining
From citizens who had never dreamt of this -
Who, shaken to the bone in their stout boxes
By the latest bright cars, will not inspect them

And, kept awake by the tremors of new building,
Will not be there to comment. When the broken
Wreath bowls are speckled with rain water
And the grass grows wild for want of a caretaker

Oh, then a few will remember with affection
Dry bread, mousetrap cheese and the satisfaction
Of picking long butts from a wet gutter
Like daisies from a clover field in summer.

-  Derek Mahon

11 July 2017

THE MILLIHELEN









It never looks warm or properly daytime
in black-and-white photographs the sheer cliff-
face of the ship still enveloped in its scaffolding
backside against the launching cradle
ladies lining the quay in their layered drapery
touching their gloves to their lips and just as
They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships rises
from choirboys’ mouths in wisps and snatches
and evil skitters off and looks askance
for now a switch is flicked at a distance
and the moment swollen with catgut-
about-to-snap with ice picks hawks’ wings
pine needles eggshells bursts and it starts
grandstand of iron palace of rivets starts
moving starts slippery-sliding down
slow as a snail at first in its viscous passage
taking on slither and speed gathering in
the Atlas-capable weight of its own momentum
tonnage of grease beneath to get it waterborne
tallow soft soap train oil a rendered whale
this last the only millihelen her beauty
slathered all over the slipway
faster than a boy with a ticket in his pocket
might run alongside it the bright sheet
of the Lough advancing faster than a tram
heavy chains and anchors kicking in
lest it outdoes itself straining up
to a riot of squeals and sparks lest it capsizes
before its beginning lest it drenches
the aldermen and the ship sits back in the sea
as though it were ordinary and wobbles
ever so slightly and then it and the sun-splashed
tilted hills the railings the pin-striped awning
in fact everything regains its equilibrium.

- Sinead Morrissey