Maurice Devitt – Empire of Light

Maurice Devitt LEP&W V1 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume One December 2022.

Empire of Light, poems by Maurice Devitt.

Empire of Light

after René Magritte

I must have been about seventeen
walking to a record session on Cremore Road
or Botanic, denim jacket suitably stressed,
latest Jackson Browne in vinyl
tucked preciously under my arm, body
swirling with teenage heat. I wondered
would she be there and what would I say.

My footsteps slowed as the street seeped
into darkness, a streetlamp picking out
the house in a pencil of light.
Walking to the door I caught the opening
strains of Late for the Sky, the title track
of my newly acquired LP. I turned away
to a September sky desperately holding on to blue.

The Dark Art of Plumbing

When he came to fix the boiler, the first thing he asked
was who had installed it, suggesting that not only
would he have to get the boiler working, he would
have to unwind all that had gone before –
loose pipes, Escher-like connections and, worst of all,
a failure to respect the vagaries of water.
He riffed on a theory that getting water
to do your bidding was a rare gift, bestowed
on only the chosen few. Somewhere a radiator gurgled.

The installation had been so long ago
I couldn’t remember, so when he was gone
I pulled out the original receipt, most of the ink now lost
to some celestial archive, though I could just about make out
his name scribbled at the bottom of the page.

The End of the Pier

We wait in the purling mist;
a knave in houndstooth
– crushed felt hat and diamond patter –
working the queue.

Snake excitedly towards the door,
cackling tannoy promising a show we’ll never forget.
Glass-eyed ushers show us to our seats,
the air sweet with scent of candyfloss and Dior.

High on expectation, we fail to notice
the flurry of activity at the stage-door,
and it is only when the curtains open
to a half-built set and empty stage,

that we wonder where the actors have gone,
why the onshore lights are moving further away.

© Maurice Devitt

Maurice Devitt is a past winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland and Poems for Patience competitions, he published his debut collection, ‘Growing Up in Colour’, with Doire Press in 2018.  Curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site, his Pushcart-nominated poem, ‘The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work’, was the title poem of an anthology published by Hibernian Writers in 2015.

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