Maurice Riordan

(1953 / Lisgoold, County Cork)

The January Birds - Poem by Maurice Riordan

The birds in Nunhead Cemetery begin
Before I've flicked a switch, turned on the gas.
There must be some advantage to the light

I tell myself, viewing my slackened chin
Mirrored in the rain-dark window glass,
While from the graveyard's trees, the birds begin.

An image from a dream survives the night,
Some dreck my head refuses to encompass.
There must be some advantage to the light.

You are you I mouth to my shadow skin,
Though you are me, assuming weight and mass —
While from the graveyard's trees, the birds begin:

Thrush, blackbird, finch — then rooks take fright
At a skip-truck and protest, cawing en masse.
There must be some advantage to the light,

Or birds would need the gift of second sight
To sing Another year will come to pass!
The birds in Nunhead Cemetery begin,
There must be some advantage to the light.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Poem Edited: Wednesday, September 21, 2011


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