Eamonn Lynskey – Duende

Eamonn Lynskey LE P&W May 2019

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Duende, poems by Eamonn Lynskey

Eamonn Lynskey is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared in many magazines and journals. He recently received a bursary from the Irish Writers’ Union to spend a week in Room. His third poetry collection, ‘It’s Time’, was published by Salmon Poetry in May 2017. More information at www.eamonnlynskey.com

Black Saturday 1941 Revisited

Greyfriars church destroyed,
she tells us. Pater Noster too …
A challenge to both sides:
the one to carry out
its most destructive Blitz.
The other to come through,
still fighting. War, you know…
Her tightened lip.

Inside the ruined walls
we listen to the past …
A Nazi bomber reached
the Palace but was downed
by one of our brave pilots.
He survived. Unfortunately,
the bomber crew did not …
Her slight frown.

She shows the shrapnel damage,
jagged, unrepaired …
so we will all remember
how our city suffered.
How other cities fared …
but we must leave all that
behind us and … move on.
Her narrowed eye.

And one old lady says
her mother came to London,
saw the wildflowers blooming
in the broken walls.
Yes, light from darkness. Time
to start afresh. We must
forgive. Though not forget.
A thin smile.

My Father Saved Lives

On viewing the ‘Chasing the Cure’ exhibition
at the Albuquerque Museum, New Mexico

What scraps I have of you could fit
inside this cup in this café
in this museum in Albuquerque.

Dark, in that grey overcoat
your emigrant generation wore,
you come to me on troubled nights,

your suitcase heavy by your side,
and sit with me and speak to me
but I can’t hear you.

I remember

when you spent a summer working
on that site in Blanchardstown –
that sanatorium would save lives –

and told me how you built verandas
for the stricken to survive,
like these wan people photographed

a century ago, diseased
and exiled from the fetid East
to breathe New Mexico’s crisp air,

do battle with the vicious daemon
that would later do for you.
That memory of that summer and you

building something would save lives
remains a tiny pinpoint flickering
in the dark you left behind.


So long a time will pass without a sign,
like endless night when one awake lies still
until an early morning birdsong chirp
along the eaves. Nine times nine months or more

a distant anvil ring until a spark
will spit and shimmer, glimmer in the dark
because a raindrop (or a sudden smile)
will fling back shutters, shoulder doors aside,

deliver syllables new-forged and swelling
into sound until all earth and sky
is filled with joy as Zachariah was
that morning in the temple when he found

the barren years were ended, life was quickening
in Elizabeth, where never life
had stirred so long, so long a time until
this moment now …

© Eamonn Lynskey