Your tongue has spent the night
In its dim sack as the shape of your foot
In its cave. Not the rudiment
Of half a vanquished sound,
The excommunicated shadow of a name,
Has rumpled the sheets of your mouth.
So Latin sleeps, they say, in Russian speech,
So one river inserted into another
Becomes a leaping, glistening, splashed
And scattered alphabet
Jutting out from the voice,
Till what began as a dog’s bark
Ends with bronze, what began
With honey ends with ice;
As if an aeroplane in full flight
Launched a second plane,
The sky is stabbed by their exits
And the mistaken meaning of each.
This Poem comes from the 1995 Gallery Edition of On Ballycastle Beach by Medbh Mc Guckian.
Medbh and other women poets delighted us all reading at the Unitarian Church on St Stephen’s Green In Dublin in April. Tess Gallagher will be reading there next Thursday and I am hoping to include some links and a piece by Tess in the next few days. I enjoyed her very sympathetic translations of The Sky Behind the Forest by Liliana Ursu.