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

Éire-Ireland 40.3&4 (2005) 260-261

[Access article in PDF]

Shaving Mirror, and: Absence, and: Glassblower

Shaving Mirror

The illusion, in its concave retina, is
Virtual, magnified and upright,
Which shows the treachery of words.
Rather say the image exaggerates
With the precision of satire.
It is a theatre of parallax;
A moving circle, centred on the eye;
A mercurial portrait, to which
Time, a third-rate artist
Who can't leave well-enough alone,
Returns, morning after morning,
To rework line and hatching
With ever coarser charcoals,
Until the figure is botched, once for all,
To caricature.


L'homme est l'être par qui le néant vient au monde.
Of the words that separate us from animals
Absence is the most disruptive and immediate.
It is colourless, weightless.
It has no home in the world
But is carried parasitically,
Voracious as the hollow of memory.
It is odourless and silent.
Its slow accumulation tilts, by degrees,
The scales that weigh up
Whatever it is we call ourselves.
It is the amputee's void sleeve.
It is furniture's melancholy.
It is Death's soundless anthem.

There is a world of difference between a blank wall
And the wall from which a portrait has been removed. [End Page 260]


It is as though an incandescent swarm
Has clustered, on a spindle of his breath,
To fabricate a hive
In the hot globe of amber.
Or it is as though the air is given hands,
Cupping the molten bubble thrown out
By his steady lung, crafting
The dull red sun until it sets,
Like a premonition of Winter,
Into the fragile geometry of glass.
David Butler has won a number of prizes, including the Ted McNulty, Brendan Kennelly, and Féile Filíochta International Awards. His first collection, Via Crucia and Other Poems, will be published by Dedalus Press (forthcoming, 2006); and his first novel, The Last European, will be releasedby Wynkin de Worde, Galway, in 2005. He also edited and translated The Selected Poems of Fernando Pessoa (Dedalus, 2004). Butler is currently Education Officer at the James Joyce Centre, Dublin.



Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 260-261
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.