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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: “Pipistrelle” by Harry Clifton


At no point, in the whole of that northern night,
Was there total eclipse of light,
Only a yellow streak, low down in the sky
Against which little squeaks, subliminal cries
Would dash themselves, so to speak—
The pipistrelles. Hours later, dawn would break
To the sound of illegitimate shots
In the field nearby. And whether or not
She had slept, in a strange bed at the end of the house,
One must have broken in, a flitter-mouse,
Ages ago, to winter behind her shelves,
Her married remnants. A piece of the dark, detaching itself
To circle the bare bulb, as wounded, afraid
As she was. Widowhood
And the eerie light of the midnight sun,
And silence, and the abandonment, one by one,
Of room after room, to a high soprano wail,
A purity off the scale
Of human reckoning, would bring it on—
Enlightenment, time to be gone.

Categories: Harry Clifton, Poem of the WeekTags:


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