When I sit beside you on your cold
bronze seat, regard your sturdy features,
crossed arms and legs, I can’t believe
you had it all that bad living here near
the banks of the Grand Canal.
Even on a January day with traffic
you had blue sky, winter trees reflected
in the water, a moorhen moving out from
hiding in the reeds, the mallards sailing
calmly in ripples of their own making.
You had the grace of swans, the calling
gulls, the water spilling from the locks –
a sound you termed redemption – and often
when you looked through the narrow eye of
a bridge you were rewarded by fantastic light.
Cast for ever in this forbidding reverie, you
want no sycophantic chit-chat, small-talk
or analysis so I follow your gaze back
to the water, to those everydays of nature,
remembering how you deemed them plenty,
your respect for arguments that couldn’t
(from Waiting for the Lights, Boland Press, first published in Southword 2014.