A Shannon Boatyard


Close to the lake but not too close –
the Shannon could never rise this far –

where a galvanised door that bangs and moans
and never quite regained its running order

now tacks and flaps like a ruined sail.
Deserted in a bright November afternoon

where rising up a late harvest moon
plays shy with the inebriated sun

dozing on a white horizon. Inside
a perished bone yard dreams of the alkaline

Sonora near Tucson and Abilene, and the deft
daft mothballed names of recompense

chilled by a hard December’s wiles and frosts
recall a tungsten fog toughening the water

raising anti-fowling clear of the diesel smear,
bowline on a bight, cleat hitched,

timbers groaning, buckles straining at their stays
and that worrying buoyancy of anti-freeze,

letting go. Awkward on their stirrups and stilts,
cruisers kiss and hug, nose to arse and back again,

Marni, Lady B, little honest dreams
with still room for the ghostly sea ’planes,

early mail carriers along the far flung,
all our slips for repair and all hiding out

from the false god of winter, to come again
in this fireside reading of the lakes.

Gerard Fanning’s Hombre: New and Selected Poems is published by Dedalus Press.