Lessons in Navajo

Gerard Fanning
It could have been that rich brogue I overheard 
on the fire escape of a walk-up, looking out on the halogen-lit 
pockmarked asphalt, half-built back parking lot, 
of a midlands public house. And more hooch 
than real contraband. But a stain lingers from the early 
diamond white cold, where that late lost jarvey, 
one over the eight, knelt to flush and flood pistons, 
resorting at last to crank handles and those oaths you expect 
from a man who knows too much, or just enough, of some 
never written down Navajo. At some stage he wheeled 
away in his buckled charabanc, as I, drifting from sleep, 
salted half-remembered choicer cuts to practice in future 
company, in that selfsame order of beer and bitters, 
still and whiskey. Now it feels closer to the battlefield cipher 
branching in the shipping lanes of the Pacific theatre, 
where there was real purchase in a zigzag or stagger, 
and the last of the Navajo nation swept a safe path home 
spouting babble and baffle and sweet talk.
Page 111, 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.