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Eamonn Lynskey – Black Rat Replies

Eamonn profile Dec 2020

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume Two, December 2020.

Eamonn Lynskey is a poet and essayist whose work has been published in leading magazines and journals and on-line. He holds an M. Phil. in creative writing from Trinity College, Dublin and a Diploma in Italian Language and Culture from The Italian Cultural Institute, Dublin. His third collection, ‘It’s Time’, was published by Salmon in 2017 and a fourth is due out next year from same.


Black Rat Replies

Collection boxes are out again
to save the cuddly panda bear
and leaping antlered antelope.

No rattling of the box for me.
It’s said, together with the flea,
I almost wiped out human kind,

although, unlike benighted creatures
trembling towards extinction, there
is something in the loggers, poachers,

drillers-down-for-oil defies
the odds. The question’s often put:
what greater good had He in mind

to have me in His scheme of things?
What do I add to His designs? –
Not for me to answer, but

to say there is a killer species
He inflicted on the world
the which the world could do without.

On the Bus

Not my usual bus this – travelling
my accustomed route yes, but
taking in a few more twists and turns.
Look, that crumbling wall reveals a gap
I hadn’t seen before; that gable end
extends a length back longer than I’d reckoned –
all these unfamiliar Roads and Groves
disclose a new perspective on old journeys,

like this morning that discarded notebook
found forlorning in a desk-drawer
and my half-hour spent deciphering
who was it wrote those hurried lines – who was it
tried to slow the world was whirling round him
faster than these neat suburban landscapes
racing past my window now? And yet
I knew of course that hapless wight was me.

This filtering of the ever-present past,
this yearning to go back, rein in the years
and speak a word to all those selves I was,
selves gauche and ill-advised and God knows what –
I want to shout to them above the maelstrom
swept me on relentlessly before it.
What the resurrections could be mine
if like to Hamlet’s crab I could go backward?


© Eamonn Lynskey