The city clocks declare it’s time to close all shops,
swap the treadmill for The Wizard of Oz,
drop the heavy load
and follow the Wise Men
who’ve been a long time coming.
The talk on the street, chitchat and argument,
is the talk of multiple tongues:
the patois of a Nigerian village.
It’s as if the street itself is hoarding new languages.
But look! We live in a time
when some among us must ask themselves
On which side of the river shall I sleep tonight?
In the well-lit district, the darker alleys –
in the centre or out on the margins.
Gerard Smyth's recent collections are A Song of Elsewhere (Dedalus Press ) and The Yellow River (with artwork by Seán McSweeney, Solstice Arts Centre ). He is Poetry Editor of The Irish Times