On Attending the Cúirt Festival of Literature

Plunged into daylight,

I leave the Town Hall

in a flush of goose-pimples,

replaying images.

Eleven am is early

for poetry, they say.

Words orbit my head,

still sinking in,

as I saunter to the Salmon Weir

in a shock of cool, midday air.

The pleasure of waiting

in a hushed theatre

for lines to cohere.

I replay their sounds in my head

as a cormorant swoops for fish.

Stopping to guess when he’ll surface again,

I will him to bring something up.

A pause, then he reappears.

Words begin to ring clear.

I cross the street while he passes beneath

to emerge with a silver fish in his beak.

As he grasps his prize,

those metaphors speak.

Dr Emily Cullen is a Galway-based writer, arts manager, harpist, and scholar. Her first collection, No Vague Utopia, was published by Ainnir in 2003. In 2004 she curated the national Patrick Kavanagh Centenary celebrations. This poem will feature in her forthcoming collection.


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