Mirror in February
GENERATIONS of Irish Leaving Crtificate students will be familiar with the work of poet Thomas Kinsella. Here we reproduce one of his better known poems.
The day dawns, with scent of must and rain, Of opened soil, dark trees, dry bedroom air. Under the fading lamp, half dressed – my brain Idling on some compulsive fantasy – I towel my shaven jaw and stop, and stare, Riveted by a dark exhausted eye, A dry downturning mouth.
It seems again that it is time to learn, In this untiring, crumbling place of growth To which, for the time being, I return. Now plainly in the mirror of my soul I read that I have looked my last on youth And little more; for they are not made whole That reach the age of Christ.
Below my window the wakening trees, Hacked clean for better bearing, stand defaced Suffering their brute necessities; And how should the flesh not quail, that span for span Is mutilated more? In slow distaste I fold my towel with what grace I can, Not young, and not renewable, but man. ÷ Mirror in February by Thomas Kinsella is copyrighted and reprinted here by kind permission of Carcanet Press Limited, Manchester, UK.