Tin Mining

Matthew Sweeney

Instead of climbing the wooded hill
you should descend into the tin mine

that hasn’t been used for twenty years.
Be sure to take a hard hat with a light

and wear hiking boots. Avoid any
attributes such as belts or braces

that could snag on any rusty metal.
You won’t need to bring a canary

for this kind of mine, but bring a small
pickaxe – there’s still tin there if you

can locate it. Imagine the homemade
jewellery you’d charm your woman with,

say a brooch with the old three hares
circular motif. Take a bottle of Cornish cider

and a Toby jug with your own face on it
to celebrate – howl out a local folk song,

then climb out to round up some tourists
for the dance called the Tinners’ Rabbit

involving sticks and a complex rotation
you’ll have to learn and teach the others,

after which you can all retire to Zennor,
and The Tinners’ Arms to drink more,

shouting out toasts to the Queen and Duke
of Cornwall, and anyone who takes your fancy.


We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of poet Matthew Sweeney. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Page 37, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 121
Issue 121

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 121:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Eavan Boland's first issue as editor of Poetry Ireland Review aims to encourage a conversation about poetry which is  'noisy and fractious certainly ... but a conversation nevertheless that can be thrilling in its reach and  commitment'. There are new poems from Thomas McCarthy, Jean Bleakney, Wendy Holborow, Paul Perry, Aifric Mac Aodha, and many others, while the issue also includes work from Brigit Pegeen Kelly, with an accompanying essay on the poet by Eavan Boland. Eavan Boland also offers an introduction to the work of poet Solmaz Sharif, while there are reviews of the latest books from Simon Armitage, Peter Sirr, Lo Kwa Mei-en, and Vona Groarke, among others. PIR 121 also includes Theo Dorgan's elegiac tribute to his friend John Montague – a canonical poet, in contrast to the emerging poets Susannah Dickey, Conor Cleary and Majella Kelly, who contribute new work and will also read for the Poetry Ireland Introductions series as part of ILFD 2017.