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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: “… a spell to bless the silence.”

John Montague’s most recent volume, Speech Lessons, is full of lyrical poems about childhood, memory, and family. Our selection for today stands out from this subject matter as a poem about poetry itself.


for Elizabeth

Poetry is a weapon, and should be used,
though not in the crudity of violence.
It is a prayer before an unknown altar,
a spell to bless the silence.

There is a music beyond all this,
beyond all forms of grievance,
where anger lays its muzzle down
into the lap of silence.

Or some butterfly script,
fathomed only by the other,
as supple fingers draw
a silent message from the tangible.

John Montague, from Speech Lessons (2012)


Categories: John Montague, Poem of the WeekTags: ,

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  1. I miss a great many aspects of our life in Ballydehob, West Cork. I now realize I also miss John’s mischievous smile.


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