Do Not Ask: A poem in memory of Philip Casey, 4-2-2018

A new poem by Nessa O’Mahony in tribute to a fellow poet

Philip Casey. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Philip Casey. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

In memory of Philip Casey, 4-2-2018

We didn’t plan for it,
but these past days
we’ve stalked death,
as we wandered streets,
looked up at domes,
tried to remember the past
without googling it.

Skulls everywhere:
on market stalls,
behind glass in the ritz
of Burlington arcade,
bells tolling the footfall.

Then the pink room,
where Keats spotted red,
signed his death warrant
in a four-poster bed.

And here, now, returned
to our borrowed bed
in the shades of St Pauls,
we take our beat
from the chimes,
till the phone beeps
with the news.

You’d have seen the joke;
were always the first
to try out new technology,
to match it to old words.

Another bell:
and I know
for whom it tolled,
old friend.

Today’s poem is from Nessa O’Mahony’s new collection, The Hollow Woman and the Island (Salmon)