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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Happy birthday to Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Poem of the Week

Today is the birthday of one of “the very best poets of her generation,” Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. To celebrate, we’re offering a 10% discount on any of her books* for one week only. Enjoy the poem below or pick up a copy of your favorite volume from our website using the coupon code “BirthdayENC2014”.

*excludes rare, limited edition, collectible and used copies 


‘I thought of you then,’ she says, ‘flocking
On the edge of the same water —
The yearly walk by the banks–‘
As she stood by the calm water
And the snow kept faltering past,
And past the window where a man’s bare arm
Reaches for clothes and for matches.

‘I heard him calling,’ she says; ‘I stood there, planted,
Marking time.’ She spotted, between the branches,
How the treecreeper survives by its own rites.
The beak tapped, the wedge of time sank.

She thought of them, crowding the cold shore
With pilgrimage, like migrant birds,
Their habitant a shrinking blot on the map,
The tidal ogham in their feathers
A message for the watcher, keeping score.

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, from The Magdalene Sermon and Earlier Poems (1991)


Categories: Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Poem of the WeekTags: ,


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