“Shelmalier” by Medb McGuckian

Medb McGuckian


by Medb Mc Guckian.

“Looked after only by the four womb-walls,
if anything curved in the ruined city his last hour
it was his human hands, bituminous, while all laws
were aimed at him, returning to the metre of a star:
like a century about to be over, a river trying
to film itself, detaching its voice from itself,
he qualified the air of his own dying,
his brain in folds like the semi-open rose of grief.
His eyes recorded calm and keen this exercise,
deep-seated, promising-avenues, they keep their
it is I who am only just left in flight, exiled
into an outline of time, I court his speech, not him.
This great estrangement has the destination of a
The trees of his heart breathe regular, in my dream. “

from, The Making of a Sonnet, a Norton Anthology. Eds ,Edward Hirsch and Eavan Boland. Published 2008.


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