After spending so much time looking
into their faces,
how could I not love them?
If they were not there,
I looked around anxiously
to find them,
not changing, but doing
the same thing over and over
in different rooms
on different days.
I looked to them to tell me where I was,
how close to the next moment,
and if sometimes I was impatient with them,
that is little to how they delighted me
with the promise of each new hour.
They were steadfast whether someone was
dying or being born,
arriving early or late.
When I began to slip through time
they looked at me with what I thought was sorrow,
and then I thought I saw them look away,
like friends who can’t bear to watch your mistakes.
Poetry Ireland Review Issue 123:
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.