Sixteenth of September
after René Magritte
The oak tree marks the mid-point
of my run. There and back.
A collector and dispenser
of breath, branches clustered
against the autumn grey.
The relief of tagging,
turning and not looking back.
I never witness the leaves
parting to reveal a nascent moon,
this mere sliver of a thing,
cradled and fattened with light,
later to be craned
into a meaningless sky.
A View of the Lake
Maybe you came across this poem
in a small journal
you had never read before, encouraged
to pick up a copy by a friend,
whose poem is featured on page 57
and, as you skimmed through the pages
looking for his poem, were struck
by this title, reminded of a place
you used to swim as a child.
Maybe you started to read it,
wondering would it be any good
or would it be one of those modern poems
that don’t seem to make any sense.
I’m so glad I triggered
the memory, though conscious
that no words I would ever write,
could equal that feeling
of you dipping your toes in the water.
Five years ago I bought this house
and only recently I noticed
that, as the price increased,
the rooms got smaller,
until I found myself stooping
when I stepped through the doorway,
sitting with my knees pressed
up to my chin and watching
television through the kitchen window.
I called a man who knows about
these things, he measured the rooms
with an ever-decreasing tape,
lifted the floorboards to check the pipes,
then declared, You’ve got a leak,
there’s air escaping, nothing
you can’t fix with a basin of soapy water,
just be careful what you tell the neighbours.
Maurice Devitt was runner-up in The Interpreter’s House Poetry Competition in 2017, he was winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015 and has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Listowel Collection Competition, Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award, Cork Literary Review and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition. He has had poems published in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Mexico, Romania, India and Australia, runs the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site and has a debut collection upcoming in 2018 with Doire Press.
Photograph by Linda Bartlett.