new zealand electronic poetry centre


Medbh McGuckian

Fugacity 05
Online Poetry Anthology



Bleu de Paris

After two weeks, you cannot find a scar
To dye the heavens purple, only
A remembered colour, or a scent
Associated with new mown hay.

Everywhere the eye is struck
With a little creeping pain,
Bright red needles
In the composition of the air.

We forget that we enjoyed
The more subdued and pensive
Harmonies, our vision
Of God, on a day of many blooms,

Most of them mauve,
When the imprisoned spirits of the rain
Bow had a sweet taste
For her human eye,

Preparing the fastest blue
And fastening against the water and light
Her tar-distilled crimson,
Her coal-derived blues.

A Book of Rains

Sheer weather, weather that can be felt
With the eyes, as snow-cover,
Selling spring, the first climax
Of the year.

Bending, standing, turning,
Walking with closed eyes,
The pendent half-moon
Pupil in her eye

Composes a path
That does not stop if not
Forever, her sense of patches
Of knowledge blasted away.

Where one would expect
Added red, or a hat
Of darkness, the line is traced
Like the trajectory of the blow

That was dealt. Having nothing
At its disposal
To not yield
To the provocation,

The time of dying itself
Cannot give itself
The other shore,
And the future that death gives

Is not yet time,
When his forsakenness
Draws near, under the force
Of the lips of the blow received.


Eating Christmas

The snow will be full of human forms,
And to its superfine gradations
The human face will be bound
To seem smeared, the eye of the truth
By a term like ‘softness’.

The battle hovers over its own field
Where my stricken horse, whose nature
Is a place without water, must not lean
Across the fire with its side
Of the early morning, side of evening;

With its supple body, silken
Or inflexible, that sheds rain well.
A shaper, what he sells
Are metaphors, if they enter the cave
Close it with leaves of compassion

To taste that taste,
The burning chain of towers
Suffocating under the small herb
‘You call’, the dried roots of
‘It does not matter’.


Her skin, though there were areas of death,
Was bright compared with the darkness
Working through it. When she wore black,
That rescued it, those regions were rested
Like a town at lighting-up time. In a heart-
Casket flickered her heartless 'jeune fille'
Perfume. I was compelled by her sunburnt,
Unripe story and her still-schoolgirl hand.

My life, sighed the grass-coloured,
Brandy-inspired carafe, is like a rug
That used to be a leopard, beckoning
To something pink. Yes, I replied, I have
A golf-coat almost as characterless,
Where all is leaf. We began moving over
Each other in the gentlest act of colour,
Not as far as the one-sided shape of red,

But out of that seriousness, out of the stout
Ruled notebook. She would stream in, her
Sculptor's blouse disturbed so by the violence
Of yellow. I would have to thank the light
For warning me of her approach. Not I,
But the weakened blue of my skirt
Wanted the thrown-together change, from vetiver
To last night's ylang-ylang, and back again.



Belfast, Northern Ireland

Last updated 13 May, 2005