Fred Johnston – The Excursion

fred johnstonFred Johnston (born 1951) is an Irish poet, novelist, literary critic and musician. He is the founder and current director of the Western Writers’ Centre in Galway. He co-founded the Irish Writers’ Co-operative in 1974, and founded Galway’s annual Cúirt International Festival of Literature in 1986. (


The Excursion

Yes, it was dry, hot and too sunbright
And still we were there
Old men swaddled in corners watched us
One wore a pair of airman’s goggles
O we were in the kingdom of Ozymandias
And what were we doing there?

So hot, the vehicle’s bonnet, the paint cracked
My daughter stunned in what shade there was
The Michelin map read
Here be monsters
Here dwell gryphons and manticores
Here are the Mountains of the Moon

O we took the road of peril and stone
And the silk-polished bones of the camel
The shell-thin skulls of the lizard –
Water-thick heat buoyed everything into the air
Air white as snow
Unbreathable; clots of salt mirrors of light
Why were we there, each of us a mirage?


Aside | This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.