Creative Corona: Day 26

Coyau / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Poet John FitzGerald won the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2014 and his debut collection First Cut appeared in 2017.  He is the director of information services at Boole Library UCC, which part sponsors the Department of English annual reading series.  James O’Sullivan is a poet, publisher and a lecturer in Digital Humanities in the Department of English.  “The Holy Ground” comes from his most recent collection, Courting Katie (Salmon, 2017)


Spring’s other gift

is the illusion of youth.


Today, still in recovery, I sit

on the front terrace, a generous


gin in hand, to hear the birds sing

vigorous as fiddlers — and go


with all my senses in the song

of every bird of Ballymichael,


Dunisky, Warrenscourt, Crossmahon,

all the way back to Kilbarry, where


the quick ticking of a wren,

with the insistence


of Mossie Brady’s polite poetic stammer,

silences everything.


John FitzGerald


The Holy Ground

It greets you like a bookshelf, or the selection

in a sweetshop—Saint Colman keeping a watchful

eye on greedy little boys, and mischievous girls,

reaching for a taste of something sharp and sour—

Black Jacks and Fruit Salads—gobbled all at once,

packed and chewed between watery cheeks.


Joseph guards the western door so children

might not pass with sticky fingers, smudging

the fine limestone from Mallow, the blue

Dalkey granite and Kilkenny marble,

the Belgian slate, and Californian pitchpine.

Here is not a place for unwashed children.


Sailors sang about this oasis, raising anchors,

hoping to find a torn rigging that might send them

for shore with the secrets of their mind piled high.

Vigil is still kept from the hill, but like the shanties,

they have been seen for what they are—the shop fronts

are fading now, and children keep hold of their mothers.

James O’Sullivan

TOMORROW:  “Vector” by Jacqui Corcoran and  “Wrong Number” by Debra Fotheringham