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Brian Kirk – Winter Songs

Profile Brian Kirk LE Poetry & Writing September 2018

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Winter Songs, poems by Brian Kirk

Brian Kirk is an award winning poet and short story writer from Dublin. He was twice shortlisted for Hennessy Awards for fiction and his stories and poetry have been widely published in journals and anthologies. His novel for 9 – 12 year olds The Rising Son was published in December 2015. He was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series in 2013 and was commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2014 and 2015. His first poetry collection After The Fall was published by Salmon Poetry in November 2017. He blogs at www.briankirkwriter.com


In The Garden

Once a place to sit, relax and wait for day
to fade to twilight after the work was done.
All summer there was warmth in the declining
sun until the year gave way to winter in November.

Now the days thin out, pressed between a delicate sky
and brittle ground. In the frozen pond the fish
play dead beneath wet leaves and mud. You stand
outside the back door in shirtsleeves and let your
shallow breath escape, a mist across the waste
of dying plants and naked branches.

Your years
sit roughly on your frame, the bones supporting
wasted muscle.
You shift, uneasy, yet unwilling
to return inside; recall the hours of labour under
a burning sun, body and mind at odds.

And yet,
despite the cold, the pain, the heart still beating.

Poem Thief

The man you thought you loved must now take heed,
he left this morning while you were asleep.
He took a book of poems you never read

and stowed it in the dark of his old tweed
jacket, but left the rent – he wasn’t cheap.
The man you thought you loved must now take heed

for out in the rain the ink began to bleed;
what each man sows, they say, so shall he reap.
He took a book of poems you never read

and in so doing thought he could be freed
from all the futile fights and lack of sleep.
The man you thought you loved must now take heed.

Imagine him as dead for his misdeed;
you would not even care, you would not weep
to lose that foolish book you never read.

That he is gone for good you must concede;
just like the poems, he was not yours to keep.
The man you thought you loved must now take heed.
He took a book of poems you never read.


Winter Song

Passionate friends: a book I read,
a song I learned to sing;
an acre of barren grass and I,
a curlew call, a cold lapwing.

A hat and scarf, waterproof boots
tread the frosted earth in silence;
red fingers burn, wind-salted eyes
watch cattle scratch against a fence.

 

Flood

After a long time Noah saw the sun
emerging through the grey, although the rain
still fell in squalls. The animals undone,
confined and restless in their stalls – the plain
a distant memory – bawled their pain across
the waters that unfolded to the end
of vision’s range. After the raven’s loss,
a dove was sent to try to find dry land,
returning at the last with olive leaf
that told of God’s assurances to spare
the few who chose the path of just belief;
who built a boat when others would despair,
a haven for all creatures from God’s wrath
until, rejoicing, they found Ararat.

 


© Brian Kirk