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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."

Poem of the Week: “Curtain” by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

In her 2010 collection, The Sun-fish, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin dives deep into the everyday, exploring ideas on nature, writing, folklore, religion, love, grief, and the shifting concept of home. Implementing allegory, verging at times on parable, “her poems invite being read, while seeming not to care what the reader makes of them,” writes William Logan in a review for The New Criterion. In “Curtain,” she beautifully questions the transience of life and travel, without providing many clear-cut answers.

Curtain

I laid myself down and slept on the map of Europe,
It creaked and pulled all night and when I rose
In a wide hall to the light of a thundery afternoon
The dreams had bent my body and fused my bones
And a note buzzed over and again and tuned for the night.

We advanced to the window: the square frame showed us
Everything, where we had washed up, above rolling domes,
A splash of talk reaching us; behind us we could not hear
How the dark oil-paint slid down the wall
Wiping out the way we had come. The measure changed,

The warped foot staggered, I thought
Of the yelping music, the interval shaken loose,
I will not hear again. The red-haired bard
Rehearsed the bare words that make the verse hang right,
The skewed weights holding in their place like feathers.

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, from The Sun-fish (2010)


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

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