‘Map’ by Katherine Duffy.

This poem, by Duffy is taken from the 1996 Poetry Ireland Review (PIR)  issue 49. Ed, Liam Ó Muirthile.


Islands, lovingly described,

Each day, from its catalogue
of wonders, we choose
the cockle strand, the puffing holes,
the temple of the four beautiful saints

and wander the ceathrúnas’
ancient longitude and latitude
of sea-weed rights ; piecemeal intimations
of a people’s pressing wish
to green the stone world.

We follow the coast –
line’s chequered fortune avidly,
eventful geology rendered decorative
as medieval pageantry. Crosshatched
cliffs joust with a stippled sea.

The man we rent our caravan from
knows the map-maker – an englishman
who speaks Irish – nach bhfuil sé sin
i gcoinnne an nádúir ? he asks,
only half-joking.
Anxious for dragons,
we slither to Poll na bPéist.
The map rustles,
governs our journeys gently .


by Katherine Duffy

a Curvimeter from Wiki