Poem of the week: Dublin Names

A new work by Rory Brennan

Looking east from the Phoenix Park towards Dublin Port. Photograph: Frank Miller

Looking east from the Phoenix Park towards Dublin Port. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

I fell for the lilt and echo of Dublin names,
Bohernabreena, Templeogue, Tinnock,
Their syllables trickled and spilled in streams
And foamed at the lock of Grand Canal Dock,
Rathfarnham, Rathgar, Ballybrack, Blackrock.

I loved the siren songs of their cadence,
Eden Quay, Ussher’s Island and Chapelizod,
Old Gaelic, Imperial, Norman and Norse.
They shone like rainy cobbles along the road
Where the Dargle, Dodder and Tolka flowed.

Who curled up in comfort out in Bride’s Glen?
Or sheltered from storms in Windy Arbour?
What on earth did they store in Dolphin’s Barn?
The riddling reel of words held the answer
Like the bobbing boats in Bullock Harbour.

Leopardstown, Fairyhouse, the Phoenix Park,
Bright jockeys gallop past bellowing crowds,
But their colours grew dim in the falling dark
And Misery Hill wore black clerical clouds,
The shawls of women like threadbare shrouds.

Horizons dazzle and the world is wide.
So, Casablanca, Cairo, Rangoon, Rome.
Still I was pulled back by the Poolbeg tide.
Cuba, Nepal? Wanderlust is another tome.
Long hooks and harpoons haul us home.

Pigeon House Road to Sandymount Green –
Where will I stroll to wave a final adieu?
Harold’s Cross, Portobello, or on into town?
There’s a road in Ranelagh called Mountain View.
You can just see the hills, and that will do.

Rory Brennan has published six collections of verse, both in Ireland and abroad. He lives in Dublin and in Greece