John Murphy

No one knows you. And you know no one.
Not even your children. But life and history
are lived one day at a time, and rather than lie alone
on your bed with an unlit cigarette, go to your children,
tell them a story, someone else’s, or one
that comes to you like a long forgotten song
your mother sang, days before you were born.
Speak, read a few pages, learn to listen
for the sound of children listening, and soon
it will be too dark to read and you will go alone
into a trust you have been given with words
that are more than spaced silences.
No one knows you, but if they listen to you,
tell them a story. It doesn’t matter if it’s true.

Page 92, 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.