Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

"Now the Oil-Fired Heating Boiler Comes to Life"

Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

"Now the Oil-Fired Heating Boiler Comes to Life"

Article excerpt

i

Now the oil-fired heating boiler comes to life

Abruptly, drowsily, like the timed collapse

Of a sawn-down tree, another time and lapse

That must have taken place around midsummer

Come swimming up, and the place, it dawns on me,

Could have been Grove Hill before the trees were cut,

Where I often stood with them on airy Sundays

Shin-deep in hilltop bluebells, looking out

At Magherafelt's four spires in the distance.

Too late, alas, now for the apt quotation

About a love that's proved by steady gazing

Not at each other but in the same direction.

ii

Quercus, the oak. And Quaerite, seek ye.

Among green leaves and acorns in mosaic

(Our college crest surmounted by columbtt,

Dove of the church, of Derrys sainted grove)

The footworn motto stayed indelible:

seek ye first the Kingdom. . . Fair and square

I stood on in the Junior House hallway

There is a grey eye which will look back

seeing them as a couple, I now see,

For the first time, all the more together

For having had to turn and walk away, as close

In the leaving (or closer) as in the getting.

iii

It's winter at the seaside where they've gone

For the wedding meal. And I am at the table,

Uninvited, ineluctable.

A skirl of gulls. A smell of cooking fish.

Plump dormant silver. Stranded silence. Tears.

Their bibbed waitress unlids a clinking dish

And leaves them to it, under chandeliers.

And to all the anniversaries of this

They aren't ever going to observe

Or mention even in the years to come. …

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