February’s Poem of the Month is an extract from ‘After Hours’ from The Last Straw by Tom French

THE CRANE BAR, GALWAY

Nobody has anything to say
to anybody else who is there.
Mid-afternoon. A handful of souls

pacing themselves, minding their business.
It is overcast and rain is promised
or it is horsing down in buckets.

A woman stands and announces —
‘I won’t go back to Limerick,
and nobody can make me’ —

then resumes her seat, her drink.
And we, in our silence, drink
to not going back and raise,

in our hearts, our glasses
to nobody being forced to go
anywhere they do not want to,

until peace reigns again
in the whole of The Crane Bar
and in The Little Crane.

from The Last Straw (2018)
by Tom French

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