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The City of Porto

 

your moon sings in the dark.

i note her love of strangers here,

her care for the blind.

 

she asked me on my second night

to describe the Douro river

as it behaves behind her back in the sun,

& the blue scarves of sky

& the proud afternoon- how he showers

under short bursts of cloud

& dries himself in the streets of Ribeira

with St Francis watching.

 

your moon is in love with your afternoon.

she thinks him every departure beyond

the tiled walls of Sāo Bento station.

 

old Porto, carry me tomorrow in your glass;

its mouth red with consecration, carry me

over your six bridges with their devotion

to the stretch, to people; those intrepid ones

& those still braving to look

down.

Night Radio

 

how often has the human voice– low & soft

on the talking channel saved a life? or is it always

saving a life- whispering through night the secrets

of bees, political scandals, Proust’s advice to friends,

& examinations of things like Chopin’s young life

full of sickness & aching genius? in twenty seventeen,

on a benzo cold turkey i got on my knees and wept

at the Shipping Forecast. when the announcer was done,

she brought me out on her boat around the lighthouse,

then back again, saying nothing. i fell in love with her

without knowing her name. last night i heard a Frenchman

speak an ode to the game of chess. i turned my head to hear

the quieter bits like a willing child taking his ear drops.

tonight, they will address the saints of Naples, a Russian poet,

modern gardens in the digital age, Akutagawa’s chopsticks,

the appendix, a croakless frog.

then the Shipping Forecast; lifeboat of waves.

Witness Statement

 

woman on road, not moving.

 

bag on road, family-size

milk carton leaking from it.

 

loaf of white bread,

split & torn by motorcycle tyre

no longer spinning.

woman on road, not moving.

 

man on road, in helmet, not moving.

bird on pylon, singing.

then two birds on pylon, singing.

 

but man on road

& woman on road

not moving.

Eugene O'Hare's poems appear in Causeway, Stand, Dedalus Press and others. He was shortlisted for the poetry prize at Belfast Book Festival and the Fish Poetry Prize. 

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