The Back Road To Struell

Damian Smyth

Now that the road to the wells behind the Mental –
Those fields of asphodel indeed, those gardens 
Of fuchsia and mint and delinquent wild rose
Tended by the lost and the unforgiven, by the baffled
And abandoned – has been closed off by police,
There is nowhere I might meet my father by design
Or accident, even if I travelled to the waters
At the appointed hour, before dawn at Easter
Or St John’s Eve when, it is said, the waters rise
To flood the stone enclosure magically
Though tidal shifts and seasonal rain account
For the sacred transubstantiation, seemingly.
But it’s still out on the road such meetings happen:
The act of travelling itself, a kind of leaving home
That mimics theirs and makes half-possible 
Their step out from the hedges, almost missed,
The dead retaining the modesty of their lives
In extremis and beyond, arriving unannounced,
Looking in, their final mortal fracas far behind them.
It makes sense now that they are out there always:
Where else but every place they were at home,
Considered, spoken of, now literally recalled?
It’s those who have survived love age and weaken,
More transient, less persistent, more easily dissuaded.
If he waits there, it’s without surprise and once again in vain.

Page 8, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 117
Issue 117

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 117:

Edited by Vona Groarke

Issue 117 includes new poems from over twenty five poets from Ireland, the UK, the US and elsewhere, along with three new poems by Michael Longley, one of the UK’s foremost contemporary poets. The issue features reviews of more than twenty new poetry collections, including books by Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Claudia Rankine, Louise Gluck, Eavan Boland, Dennis O’Driscoll and Dermot Healy. Interviews include a feature on photographer, Seamus Murphy, about collaborating with musician and poet PJ Harvey and poet Eliza Griswold on separate publications, as well as an interview with Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis by Colette Bryce. Colour plates include photography by Seamus Murphy and artwork by Niamh Flanagan.