Essay on Soap

Jan Wagner
a piece was always close by,
passing through another phase,
lessening like all else,
then it was there again, whole
and dazzling white in its dish.
it weighed like a stone in your fist,
it lathered and softened.
we washed our way from cain to abel.
unused, it disintegrated
into brittle bits of asteroid,
but now it is shiny and wet,
as if fished from the depths 
of the lake, treasure for seconds,
and all of us here at the table:
a moonless evening, our fragrant hands.

Translation by: Richard Begbie

Page 45, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119
Issue 119

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119:

Edited by Vona Groarke

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119 includes new poems by 48 poets including Frank Ormsby, John Kinsella, Rachel Coventry, Aifric Mac Aodha, Gerald Dawe, Alice Miller and Claire Potter. Also included are translations by Richard Begbie and Kirsten Lodge, an essay on Bishop, Lowell, Heaney and Grennan by David McLoghlin, and reviews of Paul Muldoon, Paul Durcan, Sarah Clancy, Medbh McGuckian, Kate Tempest, George the Poet, and many more. The issue also features photography by Hugh O'Conor, Dominic Turner, Sheila McSweeney, Fergus Bourke and John Minihan.