The Red Glove

John D. Kelly

So this is how 
our local row concludes – 
with weapons 
not yet finished still of use? 
I always thought 
that a newly-wrought sword 
could not be held 
when it first left 
the forge 
and that blunt lie-cast words 
(my love) 
could never fell me
or that their faint echo within 
the white-bellowed roar 
of your fire – heard by me 
now – could ever cut so deep.

Yet as my tempered blade
now cools 
in snow 
from tip to hilt –
beside my ebbing rage – 
I no longer have a need 
to hold it
or use it 
I no longer have the strength 
or desire to lift it 
as my own blood congeals
on your fine asbestos-lined glove.

Page 27, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 123
Issue 123

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 123:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Among the poets offering new work in the final Poetry Ireland Review of 2017 are Orla Martin, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, Harry Clifton,  Erin Halliday, Alan Titley, and Nan Cohen, while the Featured Poet is Belfast sensation Stephen Sexton. The books reviewed in this issue include new titles from Michael O'Loughlin, the late John  Montague, Biddy Jenkinson, Aifric Mac Aodha, Mark Roper, and Colette Bryce's Selected Poems.  Also included is editor Eavan Boland's examination of the life and work of the late John Ashbery, and the reasons for his pre-eminence among American poets of his century; and an evocative tribute to the late Gerard Fanning from his friend Gerard Smyth. The artwork for PIR 123 comes from the SO Fine Art Editions gallery, and the issue concludes with nine intriguing questions for Michael Longley, posed by fellow Belfast poets Stephen Connolly and Stephen Sexton – followed, of course, by nine intriguing answers.