Poem of the week: Deutschland 1975

A new poem by Michael O’Loughlin

Michael O’Loughlin

Michael O’Loughlin


It was autumn, on walkabout in Bavaria.
Plum trees, pears.
With the last of my cash
I bought potato bread
and ate it with some leberwurst.

In Freiburg I fasted for three days,
lay on my back on the river bank
watching my island float far above me –
a dark shape in the blue vault.
Someday I would surface there.

In the hostel run by a one-armed Prussian
I met another journeyman,
a girl from Hamburg, aged fourteen.
I marvelled at her daring,
her empty blue eyes, the way
she was completely there.

I imagined her in the fourteenth century
in a flat-chested velvet brocade dress
being married off
to a creaking Teutonic knight
who took her to his Baltic castle
where, surrounded by Slavs and Letts
she would give birth
to a horde of men –
philosophers, warriors,
engineers and hunters.

On our last day
we said goodbye
on a bridge across the river.
She proffered her cheek to kiss
then she turned to the East.

Today’s poem is from Michael O’Loughlin’s new collection Liberty Hall (New Island)