The Oak That Was Not There

Miriam Gamble
The oak that was not there was not there
and the sands went walking under the sea.
The clocks went forward, the clocks went back.
Someone lost their temper with me.
From a hillock, we looked on as water
swept its grey silk garment through the estuary.
The clocks went forward, the clocks went back.
The penitent, down on his knees, begged
for the honey of forgiveness from a round god
whose presence we had proven.
The clocks went forward, the clocks went back;
there was no response. But we must act responsibly!
said our grave leader as the flowers of the machair 
grew scissor faces. On their faces, 
the hands of the second went chop, chop, chop; 
the digitalis ate a mink. To think, 
one murmured, That it should come down to this.
Another nodded: I consent there is something wrong – 
as the blown-glass nimbi angled and clinked
and the clocks went back and forwards, back and forwards – 
Where is the oak, for one thing? Where is the blasted oak?
And the round god fell from the sky like a fish.
Page 11, 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.