Poem of the Day: ‘An Ordinary Morning’ by Philip Levine

An Ordinary Morning by Philip Levine

A man is singing on the bus
coming in from Toledo.
His voice floats over the heads
that bow and sway with each
turn, jolt, and sudden slowing.
A hoarse, quiet voice, it tells
of love that it true, of love
that endures a whole weekend.
The driver answers in a tenor
frayed from cigarettes, coffee,
and original curses thrown
down from his seat of command.
He answers that he has time
on his hands and it’s heavy.
O heavy hangs the head, he
improvises, and the man
back in the very last row,
bouncing now on the cobbles
as we bump down the boulevard,
affirms that it is hanging,
yes, and that it is heavy.
This is what I waken to.
One by one my near neighbors
open their watering eyes
and close their mouths to accept
this bright, sung conversation
on the theme of their morning.
The sun enters from a cloud
and shatters the wide windshield
into seventeen distinct shades
of yellow and fire, the brakes
gasp and take hold, and we are
the living, newly arrived
in Detroit, city of dreams,
each on his own black throne.

RTE Poem of the Week

Screen Shot 2019-02-27 at 11.11.28After its publication in Poetry Ireland Review, I was very happy to see ‘Dominío Vale do Mondego’ chosen as RTE’s Poem of the Week.

It’s available to read here.

RTE Poetry Programme

 

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I had a great time chatting and reading poems on the RTE Poetry Programme recently. The episode, which aired on RTE Radio 1 on October 7, 2018, is available to listen back to here. With many thanks to my fellow poets Sarah Byrne and James O’Leary, and presenter Olivia O’Leary.

‘Cosmic Latte’ Appears in Magma

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I have been trying to get published in Magma for years, so I am truly honoured and thrilled to have a poem in its latest issue. ‘Cosmic Latte’ is dedicated to the women in my life who are more amazing than words could ever say.

Cosmic Latte is the official name given to the colour of space, which scientists have determined is a shade of ‘beigeish white.’ Professor of astronomy Jeffrey Newman said of the findings, ‘Our result can be expressed compactly in haiku form:

Look at new spring snow –
See the River of Heaven
An hour after dawn.’

 

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‘Mar-a-Lago’ and ‘Ophelia’ in the Mascara Literary Review

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 12.49.17It is an honour to have two of my poems published in the latest issue of the Mascara Literary Review.

‘Mar-a-Lago’ takes its inspiration from Beyonce’s visual album
Lemonade, in particular its imagery of black women’s reclamation of colonial spaces in America like the plantation house.

While ‘Ophelia’ is on the surface about the storm of the same name that hit Ireland in autumn 2017, it is also concerned with a political situation–the amendment to our constitution that gives the unborn rights equal to that of a living woman.

The referendum in which people will vote to repeal this amendment will be held in Ireland on May 25.

‘Mar-a-Lago’ and ‘Ophelia’ are available to read here.

Poem of the Day: ‘The Hay-Carrier’ by Paul Durcan

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The Hay-Carrier by Paul Durcan

Have you ever saved hay in Mayo in the rain?
Have you ever saved hay in Mayo in the sun?
Have you ever carried above your head a haycock on a pitchfork:
Have you ever slept in a haybarn on the road from mayo to Egypt?
I am a hay-carrier.
My father was a hay-carrier.
My mother was a hay-carrier.
My brothers were hay-carriers.
My sisters were hay-carriers.
My wife is a hay-carrrier.
My son is a hay-carrier.
His sons are hay-carriers.
His daughters are hay-carriers.
We were always all hay-carriers.
We will always be hay-carriers.
For the great gate of night stands painted red—
And all of heaven lies waiting to be fed.