Another September by Thomas Kinsella was voted 35th in a vote by readers of the Irish Times for Ireland’s favourite poems in 1999.
The poem is about Kinsella spending time at his wife’s family home and raises issues of his sense of acceptance and belonging.
Dreams fled away, this country bedroom, raw
With the touch of the dawn, wrapped in a minor peace,
Hears through an open window the garden draw
Long pitch black breaths, lay bare its apple trees,
Ripe pear trees, brambles, windfall-sweetened soil,
Exhale rough sweetness against the starry slates.
Nearer the river sleeps St. John’s, all toil
Locked fast inside a dream with iron gates.
Domestic Autumn, like an animal
Long used to handling by those countrymen,
Rubs her kind hide against the bedroom wall
Sensing a fragrant child come back again
– Not this half-tolerated consciousness
That plants its grammar in her yielding weather
But that unspeaking daughter, growing less
Familiar where we fell asleep together.
Wakeful moth wings blunder near a chair,
Toss their light shell at the glass, and go
To inhabit the living starlight. Stranded hair
Stirs on still linen. It is as though
The black breathing that billows her sleep, her name,
Drugged under judgement, waned and – bearing daggers
And balances–down the lampless darkness they came,
Moving like women : Justice, Truth, such figures.
All images copyright Ireland Calling
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