Hotel by the Slaney

Joyce Herbert
A boat swings on the painter,
the width of the Slaney swallows the sky and the tide pushes in.
The lip of the sea is sucking the land,
a ripple crawling upriver
where they are taking in the long nets.
Beyond, the round tower notes
the Crimean dead.
Pipe-clayed and polished,
meshed in war,
did they thing about netting the salmon when the moon was dark?
The short time before death
did they see the heron walk upstream the gulls pluck fish from the tide?
The diners dream,
evening creeps with the tide and the boat turns as if ghosts moved it by the jetty
below the last birds beating for home.
Page 91, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 28