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‘Socrates in the Garden’ by Enda Wyley .

Socrates in The Garden

In his world he moves, 
January light fooling
this place into beauty – 
broken glass glittering 
on the flats’ side lane, 
white graffitti translucent
on the school wall; 
Pushers out!…Egg head… 
Fuck off…Wanker Meehan.
Old shoes, their laces tied, 
dangle over electricity wires,
beside pulled-apart phones
flung there, high above 
burnt mattresses, gutted cars 
and rusting bikes –
used needles jabbing the way 
the children go to school.

Parents yell,
their calls like cigarette ash
billowing out
in front of their washing
hung from shabby balconies,
the grandmothers busy below
with Moore Street prams piled
with fruit, football hats, lighters
fireworks and wrapping paper –
all the stolen seasons trundling
their way to the market
down roads Matt Talbot roamed
with drink, then manic prayer,
his chains the size of a horse’s trace
wrapped around his body
one hot June day,
where he fell on Granby lane.

And in this world, 
Margaret goes to get married
in a horse- drawn carriage 
around Stephen’s Green.
All skin and bone, 
pneumonia choking 
her final days,
her name will become a ribbon 
and light, on the Christmas tree,
an embroidered square 
on a patch-work quilt 
hung in a vast, cold place, 
where the young priest 
talks only to old women, 
the wind outside blowing litter –
caged pigeons set free from rooftops,
rising up oblivious as Liffey gulls.

In his world he moves, 
his head slanted 
against doorways, 
his cheeks bruised 
with the cut of a city night. 
Hearing the cathedral chime 
hourly, cheeky, melodic –
Three Blind Mice… 
In Dublin’s fair city,
he queues at the soup kitchen’s door 
choosing food 
over the bell-ringer’s charm. 
His hunger slouching 
in second-hand clothes
against the city wall, 
is so acute it sends 
early morning nightmares –

How the stained glass 
in Nicholas of Myra cracks,
how Major Sirr rises from his grave
pulling St Weburgh’s apart, 
strutting  down Thomas Street to watch 
Emmet’s delirium beheaded!
And sometimes into his world 
you move, cooling his fever,
wetting his mouth
with fresh basil leaves
of hope, lifting his thoughts,
so that far away,
over the copper domes, lifting his thoughts, 
so that far away, over the copper domes, 
the shut-up, run-down flats, 
he can see in the garden
Socrates –

His toes cracked, his robe 
thrown across shoulders
chipped with neglect, 
part of his nose fallen lost 
among polite glass-houses, 
herbaceous borders
and Victorian signs. 
But his stare is deep-eyed
and his thoughts are river sounds 
original like rain 
on this bright day.
He is finding a space for you both 
in the otherwise wild

of your mid-lives, letting 
your hard city fall way
with each push of the gate 
inwards to his green heaven.

Run to his shape
the willow trees whisper,
Pull our leaves,
like hair from his face –
find his eyes staring,
questioning you.

from  Socrates in the Garden, Dedalus Press, 1998.

imageEnda Wyley is poet and children’s author. She was born in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin 1966 and currently lives in Dublin. She has published five collections of poetry: Eating Baby Jesus (1993), Socrates in the Garden (1998), Poems for Breakfast ( 2004), To Wake to This (2009), and Borrowed Space, New and Selected Poems (2014).

Her poetry has been widely broadcast, translated and anthologised including in, The Harvard Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry, USA (2010), The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women Poets, USA (2011), Femmes d’Irlande en Poésie, 1973-2013, ed Clíona Ní Ríordáin, Lines of Vision, The National Gallery of Ireland, 2014.

She holds a B.Ed with a distinction in English Literature, was the recipient of an M.A in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, was the inaugural winner of the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize and has received many Arts Council Literature Bursaries for her writing. In 2014 she was the recipient of a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship for her poetry. In recent years she has been Poet- at -Work in the Coombe Maternity Hospital, Dublin and Writer in Residence at The Marino Institute of Education, Dublin.

Enda Wyley’s books for children from O’Brien Press are Boo and Bear and The Silver Notebook. Her book I Won’t Go to China ! was awarded a Reading Association of Ireland Special Merit Award 2011. Enda Wyley was elected to Aosdána in March 2015.

Enda Wyley Reviews

New and Selected’ seems the perfectly suited appellation for the work on offer here. Ms. Wyley’s poems are perpetually fresh, utterly scrutinized, marked by vigor and virtuosity, arriving on the page as accomplished things, like settled law, fit for the long haul language calls us to.’Thomas Lynch, Poet, 2014.

‘Enda Wyley’s poems are remarkable for the way they communicate warm feeling through their lightness of touch and clarity of colour.’
The trustees of the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship, 2014.

‘Enda Wyley is a true poet. To Wake To This articulates a subtle, dreamy apprehension through a diction and an imagery all the writer’s own.’
Fiona Sampson, The Irish Times.

‘Her imagery, honesty and insight make this a first rate work.’
Poetry Ireland Review.

Published with the kind permission of Dedalus Press , Dublin  http://www.dedaluspress.com/poets/wyley.html