Derry Nocturne

Mary O’Donnell
The river, seeming to sleep, is wide awake on its way to the sea. The lights of fairyland ripple on hills where roofs are stacked,
black terraces on empty streets. Tonight, near the barricades, sleep is impossible. I fret in this tomb city, something implodes,
split by dark spasms. Again, I think of you,
sense love's undertow beyond, look in anguish at our warring.
Tonight, the river dons a mask, shuttered windows announce a travesty;
there's betrayal in every brick as young warlocks hunt the streets,
gloved and hooded for death's circle. Trapped in the tomb city,
I suffer the birthpangs of all our folly, inhabit screaming silences,
born to them: There is no escape before light.
Page 58, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 28