The Wound Dresser
I tried to smile while she plucked
the old bandage from the red line of hurt
where the scalpel did its abrasive work
and the yellowing bruise
looks like it was made in a fit of passion.
The wound-dresser came brandishing
her cold sharp scissors and the instrument
that undid the stitches.
It was like a lovers’ tryst behind closed curtains:
Come closer, she uttered
and I submitted, opening buttons
for the scar connoisseur to make judgement.
A Life Of Psalms
In Saginaw, under the metropolitan clocks,
he wandered, humming a waltz
his father taught him. It was nowhere spectacular:
a town where the pace was slow,
with its drive-in, drug-store, funeral parlour,
whine of saws in the lumber factory.
It was where he became a lord of nature,
a mind in disrepair, a companion
to whatever crawled under the rocks,
to tendrils and weeds in the flower-beds,
long stems with their blossoms of scent.
Set free from his father’s house
with its festivals of second flowering,
he became a lost son gone for good, flanked
by his own big shadow on the highway to Parnassus,
off to a life of psalms, a life abandoned to chance.
Alcock And Brown
for Joe and Sarah
Under a sky agleam with frosty stars
or with nothing but Atlantic cloud as camouflage,
they followed their flight-path,
that real Sky Road between take-off and touch-down.
In Connemara, they appeared like exhausted swimmers
or pilgrims who had come a long way
from beyond the beyond, to Derrygimlagh’s
bare bog stillness, loose ground—not quite terra firma.
No applause, no watching witness, the people gone
to Sunday prayers, when Alcock and Brown
found by luck, by chance, by accident their landing spot—
their Illyria of Irish earth, a landscape with the sound turned off.
Gerard Smyth was born in Dublin where he still lives and works as Managing Editor with The Irish Times newspaper. His poetry has appeared widely in publications in Ireland, Britain, and America, as well as in translation, since the late 1960s. He is the author of seven collections, the most recent of which is The Fullness of Time, New and Selected Poems (Dedalus Press, Dublin, 2010). He is a member of Aosdána, “an affiliation of creative artists in Ireland.”
Fionán O’Connell. Born 1961. Trained as a Primary School teacher. Self-taught in photography. Married to Paula with two children Oisín & Laoise and living in Dublin, Fionán has been making a living from his work for twelve years. He has directed several television documentaries: Silverfish Productions’ The Goat in The Temple, MOS Productions’ Good Man Mary, Windmill Lane Pictures’ A Quiet Revolution and In Search of Europe.