by Paul Casey


I was all bog and bits of islands,

my bird-heavy mane of reed

a river of lyrical russet,

a Celtic hunter slowing his currach

to the heartbeat of a wayward doe.


I grew wooden bridges and jetties,

ramparts and towers, cupped huts

and dirt roads. Smoke rose nightly

from the duels of swords and harps.


I sank heavier with merchants and markets,

cobblestones, cannons, kept alehouses then.

Top hats and summer umbrellas tilted

to soldiers and carriages. Oil street-

lamps lit stocks and paupers.

Men and metal stitched me whole.


Now I sleep with buses and pipes,

pylons and beggars reflected thrice in glass.

Mobile phones and mini-skirts flirt my name

while coffee-shop buskers point tourists to pavement art.


What will I not endure?

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