Matt Howard
to cast a tool of ash and hooked iron
to take care in boots at the edge of standing water
to throw from the shoulder, then heave from the lumbar spine
to clear a dyke of leaf-fall and slub from the past three decades or further
to feel a suck and pop of sedge-roots tearing from bog
to spit splash-back of festered water from one’s lips
to wretch one’s balance of vows and curses where no one else is listening
to imagine a cut of clearer water
to haul deeper with long-draw tines
to blister then callus both hands in unfavourable conditions
to consider the phased wing-strokes of dragonflies
to listen to the short, descending arc of willow warbler song whilst working
to see sunlight on the nodes of a Norfolk hawker’s forewing
to act with the whole body and mean it
Page 57, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 120
Issue 120

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 120:

Edited by Vona Groarke

Vona Groarke's final issue as editor is packed with new poems from leading contemporary poets, including Simon Armitage, Sinéad Morrissey, Colette Bryce, Paul Muldoon, Sean O'Brien and Caitríona O'Reilly. Books reviewed include new work from Derek Mahon, Bernard O'Donoghue, Rita Ann Higgins, Martina Evans, Denise Riley and the 2016 Forward Prize winner Vahni Capildeo. The centrepiece of the issue is an interview with Paul Muldoon in which the Armagh maestro shares his thoughts on subjects as diverse as public surveillance, the economic down-turn, and the exclamation mark. The cover image is by photographer Justyna Kielbowicz, and the issue also contains award-winning artwork from Sven Sandberg, Aoife Dunne, Jane Rainey, and Michelle Hall. Instead of an editorial, Vona herself answers the questionnaire she put to the contributors of Poetry Ireland Review Issue 118: The Rising Generation.