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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: “Starspill” by John Montague

Spitzer Space Telescope, “The Shocking Behavior of a Speedy Star,” NASA. Retrieved from http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu

There are few spectacles more enigmatic and awe-inspiring than the night sky. It can be hard to believe that the shimmering blots sprinkled into the abyss are light-years upon light-years out of our reach. John Montague’s poem “Starspill” captures the mystery of the glimmering cosmos drifting above our earth.

“Starspill”

by John Montague

That secret laughter
which, on bad days,
keeps us buoyant,
awaiting the hidden
glitter of accident.

White waves breaking
beneath Mount Eagle;
a guardian, mist-veiled?
No lift in the sky,
no glow behind it:
a fierce rain spitting
as we reach Brandon
for a lost day’s drinking.

Beyond midnight I push
open the stubborn pub door
to confront a full moon,
and a spill of stars
across a sky opaque
and black as a bog pool:
dice strewn across
a table of velvet.

From Smashing the Piano (2001). WFU press has published ten volumes by Montague, including one of his most recent works, Speech Lessons (2012).


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