Ciarán O’Rourke lives in Leitrim. He has won the Lena Maguire/Cúirt New Irish Writing Award, the Westport Poetry Prize, and the Fish Poetry Prize. His first collection, The Buried Breath, was published by Irish Pages Press in 2018. His second collection is due to be released in 2021.

Bridge Street

A gleam of rain,
a glance of glassy rooves:

the patient sun

by hunching fog
as heavy

as a wildebeest at grass.
My gunning heart

salutes the gloom –
as if it were my last.

I scrutinise the skyline
like a sodden sailor, saddened,

in his nest, breathing
secondary pleasure

from the many-seasoned weather,
vividly adrift. Wistful,

wan, awash with verse,
I’m most at one

with furied self-articulation
when near to dream, thin-bellied, fresh:

at early light, or turning even,
I’ll follow, furrowing,

my station (my pen
fills in for masturbation)

and set my lines awry.
My autumn poems

are crisp and dry, falling
from me, airily –

as earthen rivers reach
and sigh, prepondering the flood.

My writer’s
masticating mouth

is musical with mud:
to mollify, mellifluous,

an unpoetic cud.
Somewhere pale,

bedrenched, and blue,
a presidential oboe

is whistling for blood;
symphonic mobs of murder-men

reiterate the tune. (Our
modernist professors

would like to make it new.)
I watch – as starlings

pitch and flow
from weathervane to ground,

trailing in their shadow-net
a water-pummelled sound

like a deity in reverie,
muttering aloud.

My body annotates the fray
in the history of now:

a fossil of tomorrows,
in memory of you.

Flood Storm

A howling night
of sleet and pain – children
disappearing, the Amazon a-flame.

I rise unknowingly, in shade,
a faintly shedding
dream of rain

re-gathered at the glass,
and pass an hour’s idleness
deciphering the skies:

for evidence of emptiness,
the lessening of light,
an atmosphere, or elegy,

remembering your life –
some recalcitrance
of nature, since you died.

The seasons travel with me
into recollected time; a singing
summer’s music

sheltered in your eyes.
I listen to the river
raising meadows to the sun –

its dunnish mane is flowing
in a planetary tide,
trembling the boardwalk

where my silhouette resides.
The earth is going under,
but tomorrow will abide.

I’m waiting like a rumour
for the heavens to abate,
my sidle-life

the amber
moulded to their weight,
breathing in the residue

of sorrow and delight. The shine
of having loved you
shadows everything I write.