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Filíocht Nua: New Poetry
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:


A branch snaps loud as a bone-break.
You see it flash
clear as Sirius in the night sky.
I'm writing a way through winter
my snow-filled pen a sprawl
of linear hoarfrost
a calligraphy loosely formed
on a window—
the heart's flame like winter sun
rising in the east
severe at that moment
if you're out there in the white field.

Ghost Moth

Street light drops into a blue pool.
A moth rises in a swoop
and flies
to the one spot it knows.

Wind swept the earth
turned everything up.
The sky alien at first
filled with dust—
moths adrift in the dark.
Things fall apart:
a house on a hill with a cross
whole countries lost.
How will we know them
the named?
The eyes that dwell
where they flamed.

Night gusts . . .
ghost moths throng this small space
wing beats release a scent so potent
she comes
without tongue or mouth.
The exactness of their fit and lift
their fall a long way down
in darkness.

The moth in its small world
is master.
In the stratosphere
where the winged drift
everything is nothing
and the same.

Moonlight shimmies the snow-field.
A bell rings
stirs the sleeping moths.
Inside the book of thought

In the deep they drift
silent as moons.
What do they do in the dark?
Tinker the word chime
in the silence of heart.


Words flew into my heart
from a nearby house.
We were thinking the same thought
about love in the Soviet.
A bird fluttered on the periphery
a secondary character
in a play of shadows.
A man shouted into my face
another wore class like a grace—
he shared everything.
In the presence of grotesque belief
the spirit curls at my feet
like a child on an open-decked boat
at sea off the west coast.
I'm reading from a new script
words that will sound
in a cool anterior.


After Auschwitz

Sisters, did you hear the sound of a train
at your shoulder?
"It sped away through a tunnel of trees."

Sisters, did you see crystals of snow
form to glaciers?
"There were bodies in layers like thieves."

Sisters, did you speak to your keepers?
"They ransacked our quarters,
language hid in a bunk with fleas."


On Temporality


Not the house, or where you lived, or how it was but now
as you walk out
light's bright wing above the horizon.


Perfect blue, unclouded
your hand sees-through to the moon fading back at that moment
a universe measured, rounded.


The sunflower open, its seed-black centre feeding
and the present, a moment gone, in its own way nothing without earth's
turning over and around, its slow-growing, its hunger.


No sense now of the day before: the hours prior
standing here without memory, empty as the tree will be.
The world tilting, repeating particulars in times regular and seasons.


No final number, no chart, a moment you remember when you were whole.
Layers peel back, the daily ongoing . . . backward to a beginning
the future hidden in still-dark matter.

Lonesome Big City Dweller

He just popped onto my screen:
DNA, transposition of the family line, so like beauty I'm stunned.

It's true I say to myself, we love them way beyond ourselves
they make us the aspiration we once had.

I remember the first Surrealist book I bought
and the photomontage, Lonesome Big City Dweller:

Bayer's large eyes staring out from open palms
and I see him, our adult son, his face inside the circuitry enclosure

fixed between two spheres, a nowhere that doesn't hold him fast
an image as fleeting as a sunbeam.

I imagine his shoulders sprout plumage I can feel the thrum
of tiny wingbeats like a fan.

We drift in and out of conversation
and I'm thinking how we slip through shapes, how we replicate:

a semblance, a word, a perspective like Bayer's ghostly
fingers fingerprinting chimeras on a building—

or a paleonthologist's find, a wing bone caught in siltstone
our fibrous strand stretching into the future

a spot so...

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