After the concession

After the concession

A black bird sits on a telephone line,

suspended between wooden poles

aged by water.

This is no day for tears,

no moment for regrets,

no time for tearing-out hair.

There are other black birds

and a seagull catching light

over the Northside.

There is a hill to descend

a twisting road

past cars

and fading disintegrating leaves.

There’s even sun in my eyes.

It’s easier to say nothing,

to notice the knot,

to register the wish

to lock the toilet door

and simply sit.

Oh yes, there’s reason to be thoughtful,

there’s always reason to reflect,

looking at clouds heavy with mist.

There’s always a will to inaction,

a will to ossify.

Black bird statues

behind a crooked spire,

the one with the lightening rod on top.

The off-licence shut,

the graffiti craves attention,

I see Aer Lingus was looking for my vote

‘smart makes the right choice

for Stateside flights this winter’.

The wounded leopard must go back for more food,

the thirsting camel must trek on,

the beehive must protect and cherish

and guard their queen,

even when forced to swarm.

This is no day for tears,

it’s a day my mother did her best to prepare me for,

and my father knew would come.

Remember Job is more than one man,

and black birds are ever present

whenever there’s a breath to be drawn.

___________________

 

A man I looked at twice

A man I looked at twice

I saw a man that reminded me of another,
grey bristles conjured up a face
I’d forgotten.

The forgotten put me in mind of the father
I’d lost, and that deathbed
brought back to life

the mother of my best friend
as she lay wasting
and the nurse checked the cathedra

made in a country where I’d visited
the Pied Piper’s adopted home
and fell asleep

in a single bed over which a portrait
of Saint Aloysius hung, next to the holy water font
replenished by an unknown agency.

 

___________________

Note:

I self-published the first version of this poem on my blog in January 2006