In memory of Michael Smith
About his life, the facts are in order
but the poet is missing and an elegy is called for
or at least a thanksgiving
for his book of dedications,
his days when he listened to a schoolroom clock
that seemed slower than time,
slower than the narrative of Caesar’s wars,
a journey to the village of stone and dust
where they still had Good Friday Crucifixions
and the hired musicians played all night
the flamenco songs of Andelusia.
The poet is missing – has he gone
to Machado’s garden or Mangan’s doss house?
Perhaps to blend with the colours of the Alhambra,
seek again the after-rain stillness
of the air out west in Connemara.
No – he is gone the hidden ways
close to the river mouth where his song began
in the clamour of the bird market,
whistle of the North Wall Dredger Man.