Poem Rhap­sody in Pink

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - BOOKS - By Ai­dan Mathews

for Iseult

In the Ro­tunda delivery suite Muf­fled mid­sum­mer sounds

Seep through an eigh­teenth-cen­tury sash.

Your clar­inet solo a po­lice siren, That am­bu­lance horn a bari­tone sax, The traf­fic’s tym­pani and trom­bones

With jack­ham­mers, wreck­ing balls, And the street-painter’s Christ Of a pro-life pro­ces­sion.

A Roma there on card­board, a bar­ber Cho­rus, a bare­foot club­ber Clutch­ing her heels, and a vixen

From the Gar­den of Re­mem­brance Cat-walk­ing the tram­lines

En route from Chi­na­town

To a bin in Lit­tle Africa.

This is for you, a daugh­ter’s daugh­ter, My own, my am­ni­otic city

As the mid­wives wash you briskly Within sight of a fresh­wa­ter faucet Where I’d meet my own grand­dad, Gabar­dine open, tie thrown back, And humming good old Gersh­win At the mar­ble tub of the font.

He re­mem­bered drink­ing from it Like a street-cor­ner bap­tistry Among draft-horses twenty hands high

Where you come gush­ing now, brand-new,

With a widow’s peak and wiz­ened feet And see­ing the world in sepia.

Ai­dan Mathews is a poet, drama­tist and fiction writer whose most re­cent col­lec­tion Strictly No Po­etry (Lil­liput Press ) was pub­lished last year

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