Paul Connolly: Two Poems


undulant, though ragged here and there
with tears of shape, with high nests
empty, the ochre land bakes. In the

distance a flattish fluid presses
quiet on the solid, white gold
under the star. From a land crest,

beyond the dust and brown rolls
of land, and straggles of burnt reaching,
rent forms are still-posed

at totter’s margin, at the liquid ring’s
edge, while beyond a wider fluid,
which browns, like the ground, blackens, flinging

itself back and out and back upon it,
is more and more, till other lands,
some seeped among, some torn bits

scattered in the liquid, greened strands
where masses, grey and black-
stained, suggest in avalanche

a transposed range, jags
of shape, near-symmetric
glaciations, though ragged

and rubbled, under the star, slipped
below a pale orb. Whistles,
and orange froth-messes whip

over the land, bearing endless
scorching droplets. The froths flee
powdery drags, planed expanses,

double past lucidities
of crystal uprights, though everywhere
there’s no one here to see.


In sunlight, it dusted the room at first,
a Windowlene daubing in the centre
of the window, which banalised the bright
with cloths and cleaning, then became dried grease,
lard in shine, till thin cloud light retracted back
the image into mirror ghostliness

and showed the pigeon. It must have flown into
the window. Its filth freights left a perfect
death mask, burnt Turin lingerings, the cathode
blasts on oxide screens and retinas. White rays
of wing, fat breast, sideways head poise suggested
hard pressing, legacy determination,
not happenstance of flight and blind spots. And

above a wing, detached from the ghost bird
a strange third wing shone alone, fainter yet
more perfect, its splay anatomical
natural history, feathers in headdress
array, a numerable separateness,
display-case illustration. Never-seen

frail wing bones were preserved in fossil strength.
Like a chance kiss from an idol, we left
this dirt memorial for weeks. The rain’s
careful curatorship conserved it, polished
it down into a finer silver. Then
one day I remembered it and it was gone.

Paul Connollyis based in the UK. His poems have been published in Agenda, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Warwick Review, The Reader, Orbis, Dream Catcher, The Cannon’s Mouth and The Dawntreader. He was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, won third prize in the Magna Carta Poetry Competition (judged by George Szirtes) and was Highly Commended in the Sentinel Quarterly Competition.

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