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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: “High Island” by Richard Murphy

Safe travels to all as you embark on your Spring Break adventures. Or, if you’re staying home, dream of islands.

High Island

A shoulder of rock
Sticks high up out of the sea,
A fisherman’s mark
For lobster and blue-shark.

Fissile and stark
The crust is flaking off,
Seal rock, gull rock,
Cove and cliff.

Dark mounds of mica schist,
A lake, mill, and chapel,
Roofless, one gable smashed,
Lie ringed with rubble.

An older calm,
The kiss of rock and grass,
Pink thrift and white sea-campion,
Flowers in the dead place.

Day keeps lit a flare
Round the north pole all night.
Like brushing long wavy hair
Petrels quiver in flight.

Quietly as the rustle
Of an arm entering a sleeve,
They slip down to nest
Under altar stone or grave.

Round the wrecked laura
Needles flicker
Tacking air, quicker and quicker
To rock, sea, and star.

Richard Murphy, from Collected Poems 1953-2000


Categories: Poem of the Week, Richard MurphyTags: ,


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