Jim Burke – Conversation Piece

Jim Burke LEP&W V1 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume One December 2022.

Conversation Piece, poems by Jim Burke.

Conversation Piece

Pitching our tent
one summer
and walking
to the pub with beer
our simple routine
is a half day cycling west
to someplace.

Our new destination
county Galway,
delight us, surround us
in the pub

seventy one kilometres east
in a concrete structure
young boys discover
skeletal remains,

think it’s
a famine-era grave
bless the site,
build a shrine
and reseal the structure.

We fry mackerel
on an old pan
sunset is slow
and pink,
it scarcely makes an
effort to carry
the light away.

Our dreams of old Ireland
sizzle. The fireside
crackles on fish and beans
a light smoke
drifts over
to cattle
in the next field.

Landscape at Closing Time

And memory survives;
amused how out of
the blue the fear-an-tí
closed up early one
afternoon, to leave you
and I off to the stone-
heaped cliffs, guillemots,
herring-gulls, drooping
flowers that swayed
in the slightest breeze.
We sat there reading,
mine an old story;
someone flew too close
to the sun. I got up
and stepped closer to
the edge as if I might
see below the tumbled
bones of history.

Railway Embankment

Timber fencing falls down
in the field before rising again
to curl out of a hollow like a long
brown snake next to the track.

I smell the creosote
think of
Stephen King’s
—Stand by me—

The railway embankment is solid.

‘Learn your trade,
don’t dabble casually,’
an old ghost speaks.

Here is greatness, something
to celebrate cutting through
afternoon shadows in yellow fields.

From the tracks I look one way,
then the other, what is behind
and what is before me keeps moving.

© Jim Burke

Jim Burke lives in Limerick, Ireland, and is Co-founder with John Liddy of The Stony Thursday Book. He completed his MFA in Creative Writing in Manchester Metropolitan University in 2018. Some of his haiku are featured in the anthology ‘Between the Leaves’ (2016) edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky. ‘Quartet’ poems with Mary Scheurer, Peter Wise and Carolyn Zukowski appeared in 2019.  ‘Montage’ appeared from The Literary Bohemian Press in 2021.

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