The Kilclief Pissarros

Damian Smyth

It happens that all that is known of these people
Is what ends up inscribed at their heads
In marble or stone and frequently wood;
Or what is remembered by the few who knew them,
Descendants, inheritors, even the strangers
Who build on the property and find concealed
In the walls or under the floorboards tokens
Of love, shots fired, small, routine betrayals,
Before that narrative resource too dwindles
And is gone at a stroke: futility of seed.
They have in fact been wind farmers for ever,
For all their elegant shadows across fields
Are gathered in by the embrace of the blades
Above the dead aerodrome, travelling nowhere.
Who are they? Where have they come from? Where going?
Into the town on tractors, mainly: Lidl-poachers,
Off-License harvesters; ironmonger beachcombers;
Aisle reachers and stretchers; pioneers of the road
Each single day; assemblers at the hilltop; buriers.
There is nowhere to go but to the open window
And stare out at them or they to this window staring in
At what are just words, putting names to faces,
Calling them sojourners, matriarchs, ancestors,
Comrades somehow who occasionally dance.
How they resort though to the universe of tarmac
Lit with the ethics of yellow ochre and blue,
Livestock thumping the tassels of fuchsia, red diesel,
Afterglow of bouquets decayed at bad corners,
Having their thought and finishing it outside.

Page 7, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 117
Issue 117

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 117:

Edited by Vona Groarke

Issue 117 includes new poems from over twenty five poets from Ireland, the UK, the US and elsewhere, along with three new poems by Michael Longley, one of the UK’s foremost contemporary poets. The issue features reviews of more than twenty new poetry collections, including books by Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Claudia Rankine, Louise Gluck, Eavan Boland, Dennis O’Driscoll and Dermot Healy. Interviews include a feature on photographer, Seamus Murphy, about collaborating with musician and poet PJ Harvey and poet Eliza Griswold on separate publications, as well as an interview with Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis by Colette Bryce. Colour plates include photography by Seamus Murphy and artwork by Niamh Flanagan.