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Filíocht Nua: New Poetry

From: New Hibernia Review
Volume 16, Number 4, Geimhreadh/Winter 2012
pp. 37-42 | 10.1353/nhr.2012.0061

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

A Dark Circumfrence

What struck was the possibility—the pool
there, its surface imprecise but contained,
a veil to pass through as you followed yourself
into the past. Not left to chance, and no sudden
flash of coincidence; what you thought or wished
I'll never really know, all you said was:
there's always the possibility.

And you tossed a few coins that came closer
to landing on the fountain's stone-lipped step;
I watched them recede like winter stars.
We'd been alone in that place
for what felt the longest time.
There was nothing left to give.
And I knew you were already taken.

The Silent Flock

Nothing disturbs. The sheep flatter themselves
in that they are themselves and leafy hazels,
though young, are old enough to be self-contained.

Some hills rise more gently where others slope;
green is the greatest of comforters
and sun that yields from cloud.

A distance from shed or house, the river is home.
Water and grass feed the silent flock
where loosestrife and moss mural stones.

There are no boats. No bells. No wind.
Breath by breath these creatures come and go.
Without emptiness, without fuss.


A specific kind of light takes on new work
these mornings, sudden and wet, a little dazed
as it wakes and takes its tired self from the mountain. The nest it leaves shivers in the salt-blown scrub.

I am drawn to where it walks, its shuffle and swither
along the river. Man or woman, I cannot tell but it holds
a cup of grass between its hands, some linnet eggs:
pale blues and purples, a tatter of brown spots.

Like a fish or a fox, it has no interest in me and moves on.
By accident, at the edge of the river's bed, I find warm
stones among the cool, not unearthed or abandoned,
just here—the sun-streaked water running over them.


Against the light these bones
are almost see-through,

the last of what feathered them
has long since blown away.

Too fragile for the wind's
coarse touch,

you leave the fan of softened
chalk back to the landscape

you found it in—an upturned nest,
the slow composition of trees.

An irregular heartbeat struggles,
begins to breathe life in your head.


Up they grow, the narrow lane fused with birch
and spindle, to meet the sky and one another.
Limbs cross limbs and leaves brush hands
silent as girls with the wind in their hair.

An unseen stream releases muffled static,
like a wireless heard from a kitchen's window-sill;
the throat of a sparrow clears one note
that will rise to a fuzzing light.

And you bring me asphodels. Simple and vivid,
a dozen or more pink-whites and yellows.
Spring nurses you.
I wake to listen.


The round crop of blocks season by the river's bend.
They won't be hauled yet, house to house,
on the back of a trailer.

Pins of sunlight emerge from cloud and crimp
the river's surface, the space around the timber;
amber shimmers from out-of-reach places.

How often I saw one man this summer
taking his axe up to put it down;
with a stronger sun above him, he was braille-faced.

Each time the axe larked, he pulled a hand across
his brow and looked in the direction of the road;
I couldn't read anything about him.

By dusk, the field was rich, fragrant grass
and resin; the wood piled, good as money,
near the blood-warm, trespassed gate.

Copyright © 2012 The University of St. Thomas
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Michelle O'Sullivan. "Filíocht Nua: New Poetry." New Hibernia Review 16.4 (2012): 37-42. Project MUSE. Web. 8 Jan. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
O'Sullivan, M.(2012). Filíocht Nua: New Poetry. New Hibernia Review 16(4), 37-42. Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas. Retrieved January 8, 2014, from Project MUSE database.
Michelle O'Sullivan. "Filíocht Nua: New Poetry." New Hibernia Review 16, no. 4 (2012): 37-42. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed January 8...

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