Poem of the week: Rhapsody in Pink

By Aidan Mathews

  Poet Aidan Mathews. Photograph: Alan Betson

Poet Aidan Mathews. Photograph: Alan Betson


For Iseult
In the Rotunda delivery suite
Muffled midsummer sounds
Seep through an eighteenth-century sash.

Your clarinet solo a police siren,
That ambulance horn a baritone sax,
The traffic’s tympani and trombones

With jackhammers, wrecking balls,
And the street-painter’s Christ
Of a pro-life procession.

A Roma there on cardboard, a barber
Chorus, a barefoot clubber
Clutching her heels, and a vixen

From the Garden of Remembrance
Cat-walking the tramlines
En route from Chinatown

To a bin in Little Africa.
This is for you, a daughter’s daughter,
My own, my amniotic city

As the midwives wash you briskly
Within sight of a freshwater faucet
Where I’d meet my own granddad,

Gabardine open, tie thrown back,
And humming good old Gershwin
At the marble tub of the font.

He remembered drinking from it
Like a street-corner baptistry
Among draft-horses twenty hands high

Where you come gushing now, brand-new,
With a widow’s peak and wizened feet
And seeing the world in sepia.
Aidan Mathews is a poet, dramatist and fiction writer whose most recent collection Strictly No Poetry (Lilliput Press) was published last year.

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