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. 

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