CONTENT="irish poetry, Irish poetry, Ireland, Irish poets, Irish poems, poetry in Ireland, innovative poetry, experimental poetry, alternative poetry, avant-garde, contemporary poetry, modernist poetry, neo-modernist, neomodernist">

for Tina Murphy

Ceres and Bacchus bid good night
sharp frosty fingers all your flowers have topped
and what scythes spared winds shave off quite

a moth bred out of moonlight I disturbed
from the dark folds where it lay hid
a naked thing that seems no man may cheat
and love like any jack
another dressed may prove a beast

that creature fluttered free but voided in my lap
a maggot with a human head monstrous misshapen

such whose white satin upper coat of skin
cut upon velvet rich incarnadin
has yet a body and of flesh within

whereas anything with six foot of skeleton
with hands that grip with scalp of hair
front teeth concealed inside a face
and which leans forward as it runs
is called a man with us

the joys of earth and air are thine entire
that with thy feet and wings dost hop and fly

the sky unrolled its folds of purple and blue to the winds
and later from these steps I saw on the horizon
a village torched by soldiers blaze like a comet in the sky

then ah the sickle golden ears are cropped
dropping December shall come weeping in

the blood of horses become jack o lantern
the blood of men become will o the wisp
kites become sparrow hawks and those hawks cuckoos

when the sun opened its golden lashes on the chaos of worlds
and the earth was adrift with its cargo of ashes and bones
my terrified soul then fled through the grey web of halflight
but that spawn hung on in this shrill rush
and spun himself into the full of its white mane

cuckoos in due course again turn raptor
swallows become oysters seashells hatch geese

poor verdant fool and now green ice thy joys
large and as lasting as thy perch of grass
bid us lay in gainst winter rain and poise

apes grown of sheep fish that are rotten fruit
flies born of roe such transformations are

souls of the dead like mountain oaks uprooted by demons
souls of the dead like meadow flowers gathered by angels
sun sky earth man all had begun all gone

I cannot tell who loves the skeleton
of a poor marmoset naught but bone bone


© Trevor Joyce