Publishers of Irish Poetry and Drama

June 2014 — Poem of the Month

The Delivery RoomTom French by Eamon Little

James Henry French, b. 20.11.2003

 

They had wheeled your mother to theatre
in a plunge-back gown for the performance
of a lifetime, and left us to keep company
at her bedside after the bed was gone —

 

you on the flat of your back in an incubator,
a spaceman, minutes old, taking it all in
and taking your time about sampling the air.
Someone is going to tell you, so let it be me —

 

because the blood and the heat were too much
I lifted the sash window and, slipping my head out
for a breath of air, took in the cemetery — the skip
parked inside the gate for withered wreaths,

 

the far corner, filled with innocents, still green,
row upon row of neat marble and granite,
the only sound a car on the Bridge of Peace
and an ambulance idling at A&E.

 

We will never be in a room as full or as empty.
The first voices we heard were voices off —
night sisters whispering, nearing their shift’s end,
that the night just gone had felt like an eternity.

 

First Frost

for Grace

 

All I see is her bare feet on the deal stairs, her face,
when she sees the world turned white, turn towards
our two faces to ask, ‘What did you do?’ — as if we
might be able somehow to account for all that beauty.

 

by Tom French
from Midnightstown (2014)
Gallery Books
€11.95 pb
 /€18.50 hb

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