That’s street lingo for cancer hereabouts;
veiled monosyllable, both sharp and blunt,
always with the definite article,
a tone of fatalism and pity
for the stricken. It’s a generic code
unspoken in consulting room or ward
but traded in the pub or betting shop.
The jock. It’s mouthed softly, perhaps from
our spooked image of an unself within
that might stir awake and mount you bareback
to ride out all the way, nor ever spare
the spurs or bridle, bit or riding crop.
Still, some unseat it. Others go on down
with courage like a sanctifying grace.
That trumpet player, longstanding sideman
through all those nights and places, scores and songs –
recall the final evening he contrived
to haul himself upright and eyeball death,
sip at a beer and manage broken breath
enough to sing with you As Time Goes By.
Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119:
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.