Valley Bachelors

A poem by John FitzGerald for William Trevor

William Trevor  in the Shelbourne Hotel. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

William Trevor in the Shelbourne Hotel. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

They would drift in, predictable twos and threes
slowly filling the small room with a week’s news,
takes on team selections, name checks, indiscretions,
and you’d forget that beyond the general hubbub
were whole universes of silence –
long lanes, whitewashed yards, bare kitchen tables,
until once in a summer
the low buttery mid-Cork gobble would unexpectedly pause
and for that reason – stop

and each man, embarrassed at having been overheard
or too shy to be the one to strike up again
would stare down into his glass,
up along the top shelf, at the door – anywhere
for as long as it took for just one voice
to break the enemy’s hold.

John FitzGerald’s poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies since he was award the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry prize in 2014. A chapbook is due this year.