A Gift

Eamon McGuinness

There are battering, low moments 
but at times I think it's a gift, 
as I cycle past the hospice, 
how he didn't end up there, 
that it didn't turn into home-
help, live-in carer, daily visits.

I see myseld turning into him. 
Those dead-air smells of novel reading 
on the toilet before bed, mid-week
weekend newspaper catch-ups, setting 
the table at night for tomorrow's 
breakfast and shushin' on the headlines.

I missed summer that year,
while autumn came with dust
and trailing winds which woke 
me, with empty fire-
place noises and someone 
downstairs stealing his things.

Page 8, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 123
Issue 123

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 123:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Among the poets offering new work in the final Poetry Ireland Review of 2017 are Orla Martin, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, Harry Clifton,  Erin Halliday, Alan Titley, and Nan Cohen, while the Featured Poet is Belfast sensation Stephen Sexton. The books reviewed in this issue include new titles from Michael O'Loughlin, the late John  Montague, Biddy Jenkinson, Aifric Mac Aodha, Mark Roper, and Colette Bryce's Selected Poems.  Also included is editor Eavan Boland's examination of the life and work of the late John Ashbery, and the reasons for his pre-eminence among American poets of his century; and an evocative tribute to the late Gerard Fanning from his friend Gerard Smyth. The artwork for PIR 123 comes from the SO Fine Art Editions gallery, and the issue concludes with nine intriguing questions for Michael Longley, posed by fellow Belfast poets Stephen Connolly and Stephen Sexton – followed, of course, by nine intriguing answers.