National Poetry Month – “What Does ‘Early’ Mean?”

yo“What Does ‘Early’ Mean?” by Medbh McGuckian from The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry

Happy house across the road
My eighteen-inch deep study of you
Is like a chair carried out into the garden,
And back again because the grass is wet.

Yet I think winter has ended
Privately in you, and lies in half-asleep,
Of her last sleep, at the foot
Of one of your mirrors—hence
the spring-day smile with which
You smarten up your mouth
Into a retina of new roofs, new thoughts.

None of my doors has slammed
Like that, every sentence is the same
Old workshop sentence, ending
Rightly or wrongly in the ruins
Of an evening spent in puzzling
Over the meaning of six o’clock or seven:

Or why the house across the road
Has such a moist-day sort of name,
Evoking ships and their wind-blown ways.


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Poem of the Day: Hotel by Medbh McGuckian









I think the detectable difference
between winter and summer is a damsel
who requires saving, a heroine half-
asleep and measurably able to hear
but hard to see, like the spaces
between the birds when I turn
back to the sky for another empty feeling

I would bestow on her a name
with a hundred meanings, all of them
secret, going their own way, as surely
as the silvery mosaic of the previous
week, building itself a sort of hotel
in her voice, to be used whenever
the tale was ruthlessly retold.

And let her learn from the sky, which was
clever and quiet, the rain for its suddenness,
that yes on its own can be a sign for silence,
even from that all-too-inviting mouth.

by Medbh McGuckian from Selected Poems

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Poem of the Day: The Door by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

the door







The Door

When the door opened the lively conversation
Beyond it paused very briefly and then pushed on;
There were sounds of departure, a railway station,
Everyone talking with such hurried animation
The voices could hardly be told apart until one

Rang in a sudden silence: ‘The word when, that’s where you start’–
Then they all shouted goodbye, the trains began to tug and slide;
Joyfully they called while the railways pulled them apart
And the door discreetly closed and turned from a celestial arch
Into merely a door, leaving us cold on the outside.

from The Sun Fish by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin


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