(i.m. Eddie Kelly, Irish Times)
Not the photo-shoot you expected
but perfect for you who loved to be still -
Portrait of a poet who refused to speak,
a silent subject, not lying in state
but sitting in a foyer waiting to leave.
No questions to be asked - that was his way and yours -
holding back in stillness with an open Leica lens,
slow catlike, your one eye focused on his face,
listening as he for that crucial line break.
You draw the eye to look,
see in profile a grey-haired man
gazing beyond the frame, shoulders hunched.
You pull me in deeper and deeper still
into the lines of his bearded face,
looking for what’s unsaid.
All the dark weight sinking down
like an old galleon on your shore
waiting for that perfect angle,
that light connecting image;
to capture more than passing ships,
for Cantos sung in silence.
- Úna Ní Cheallaigh's first poetry collection, Salamander Crossing, was published by Lapwing, Belfast (2011). Her work has appeared in Poetry Salzburg Review, The Stony Thursday Book, The Quarry Man and Washing Windows, Arlen House (2017)