Where we live

Harry Clifton

Where we live no longer matters
If it ever did, the difference
Between North and East, South and West,
Belfast Central or Budapest
Currency changed, like innocence,
For the life that was going to be ours.

Let us admit it. There are powers
No border can contain.
They sit with us, the uninvited guests,
Wherever our table is laid,
Accepting a second coffee,
Awaiting the end of the story.

They were in ourselves.
From the beginning> Dark and placeless
Asian suns, or the greys of Ulster,
Meant nothing to them. Your skies, my skies,
Everywhere in between
Was a place they coudl work unseen.

Here they can rest a while
In our latest exile. Groundless,
Taking root anywhere,
Living on thin Italian air,
Our house in their house,
With the bats and the swallows,

Devils and angels, ghosting
The warm red sandstone
Of borrowed quarters. Leave us alone!
Wherever life is an open question
They have beaten us to it
Already, come into their own.

They are the lightnings
That transfigure us, our crises -
Homeless, the ancient weather
That travels inside us
And breaks out, here or there,
The days we despair of each other.

Page 94, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 26