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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: “September” by Conor O’Callaghan


It must be cliché to think, however brief,
that light on a wall and our voices
out in the open are the pieces
we shall look upon in retrospect as a life.

There is a danger of circumstance smothering
even the smallest talk. If a breeze
shakes another colour from the trees
we say a word like withering

without the slightest hint of irony.
After a season of fruitful conversation
and reflective pauses in the garden
we say we know what it means to be lonely.

Today the first moment of autumn tolls
like a refrain from the nineteen thirties.
The voices of friends and courtesies
are interrupted by thunder and the radio crackles.

We shall remember it as the impending doom
and use this afternoon as an example of decay
when there is nothing left for us to say
and September has outstayed its welcome.

Today our clothes will be spoiled by rain.
We shall drag from the lawn the chairs and table
that all summer made us comfortable.
Though all of that remains to be seen.

Conor O’Callaghan, from Seatown And Earlier Poems (2000)

Categories: Conor O'Callaghan, Poem of the WeekTags: ,

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  1. Thank you for this poem – there is a langourous quality to it which captures the autumnal mood. Just lovely.

  2. Ashley McCulloch says:

    I enjoy the quiet vulnerability in this poem. I will definitely be looking for more of Conor O’Callaghan’s work!

    • wfupress says:

      We’re glad you liked it! Have you read his latest, The Sun King? It was just shortlisted for the 2014 Irish Times Poetry Now Award, and we’re quite happy for him.


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