Mirror in Fe­bru­ary

Irish Daily Mail - - News - by Thomas Kinsella

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.

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