Achill 1972

Cróna Gallagher
On winter nights such as this
when iced air is cold as glass
and the blood of the sky a dark galactic ink, 
you would take us outside in our bare feet,
point north to the heavens, and instruct.
We used whale bones for stools
as you hedgerow taught, pin-pointed the stars,
gave co-ordinates, latitudes and meridians
the mapping terms from lost shipwrecks
that lie still under rock studded seas.
We turned our faces like satellites, up
to find the warrior, to build it up from dots
until a giant of a man with rapier and holster
stood firm in Hibernian firmament.
Rivets and bolts formed an iron-age plough.
We would find the archeological remains
and dig it out of the dark so it could turn once more
the sods of night sky and a dash of startled milky way
was flung across the blackness
as seeds thrown from a sack.
Then we’d stand in our pyjamas to go inside,
one of us slightly taller than the other, slightly older.
Another, slightly smaller and younger and another again.
This human staircase stepping up towards your lofty world
and you, the rudder on our round blue planet
turning our cosmos, turning every tide.
Page 104, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 124
Issue 124

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 124:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Poetry Ireland Review 124 contains new poems from Paula Meehan, Ciarán O'Rourke, Lizzy Nichols, Mark Ward, Gabriel Rosenstock, Özgecan Kesici, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, and many other compelling voices. Also included is Eilean Ni Chuilleanáin's remembrance of her Cork childhood, excerpted from The Vibrant House: Irish Writing and Domestic Space, a book of essays reviewed in issue 124 by Caitríona O'Reilly. Other books considered in this issue include collections from Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Mark Granier, Tara Bergin, The Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets, and the Collected Poems of the late Dennis O'Driscoll, and there's also a short interview with Thomas Kinsella along with an essay on Kinsella as poet and civil servant. Another Kinsella is this issue’s Featured Poet, Alice Kinsella, and all artwork for the issue is supplied by artists associated with the Olivier Cornet Gallery on Great Denmark Street, around the corner from Poetry Ireland.

Available now to purchase online or in all good bookstores.