Poems from Turn Your Head
Please Turn Your Head Mr Kavanagh comment
at the canal:
bronze, copper and gold;
treasure chest poured
third last evening of December
Contemplating one square foot of water,
albeit black as Guinness,
while the western sky is ablaze:
Mr Kavanagh, the universe
has unfurled for you.
Horse-drawn carriages and taxis slow
on Wilton Terrace:
they point you out Mr Kavanagh;
and the gold slipping from the water.
Though birds have nested
among the thorns, and the trunk
has grown wild with ivy,
his arms and legs
are still outlined in those sinews,
his belly is a knot of growth.
Deep in the withered leaves
shines an eye; a fish swims there;
he who eats the fish lives forever.
They say he was nailed to the tree,
well above the ground
so a soldier could lance his side
to satisfy the crowds
that fish swim in rivers,
wishes swim in blood.
Picking wood splinters
from my clothes,
ear to the track
and the soft thunder
of a train hurrying
Day, a gift across
a stretch of line,
in disappearing trains
and struck on coinage
with the flattening of pennies.
If only you’d come,
seen the moonfire on the mountains,
the granite glowing underfoot,
the cream grass shining.
And those clouds like flames
whipped from the mountain-top
with the moon’s alabaster whiteness
trapped, a prisoner inside them.
And I wish you’d seen me
with the mad swirl of a kite
lashing songs into the wind
beyond the city’s iodine stain.
All poems © Michael O'Dea and the Dedalus Press.