Poems for the Lockdown - romance in a Galway bookshop

Poet Kevin Higgins provides a Galway related poem to chime with these strange times

THE FINAL of my nine Poems For The Lockdown is from my third poetry collection, Frightening New Furniture, which was published by Salmon Poetry in 2010. It was inspired by an interaction I observed in a famous Galway bookshop. Any resemblance to Charlie Byrne’s is entirely deliberate.

'Bookshop Romance'

The girl behind the counter whispers: “Yes, Mother”,

then puts the phone down with a cosmic sigh.

You look up from your D.H. Lawrence.

Something rustles in your corduroy trousers.


You want to shout: “Let me through!

I’m an existentialist”; to take her hand

and tell her: your own family Christmases

often resemble the aftermath of an embalming;

that your brother’s a fully paid-up member

of V-neck Sweaters for the Bomb;

that most years you honour them

with your absence.


That you’d like her to come up

this evening to see your haiku

and the life you keep

in the shoebox under the bed.


That you’ve been admired

by women with bad judgmentall your life…


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