Poem of the week: Take a Walk on the Wild Side

By Peadar O’Donoghue

 Peadar O’Donoghue

Peadar O’Donoghue


Dogs, like time and tide, 
wait for no man or woman, or virus. 
But this dog was waiting for me, 
and I couldn’t say no. 
So check glasses, wellos, poo bags, collar. 
Lead the way Macduff!

Late, thank God; the misanthropist’s delight. 
We saw a trawler – out to sea, lights as beguiling, 
as lonesome, as a funeral song. 
We heard, then vaguely saw, a swan, 
followed by another swan, flying, 
barely able to know if that raw 
asthmatic sound was from beak or wing.

A robin, more trusting than brave, 
sang us the sweetest Evensong. 
Another bird, even more startled 
than us, with its helicopter wings, 
took fright, took flight.

Far above us all a jet plane, 
warm-framed in the twilight, 
its jet trail rendered sweet 
by the failing sunlight – 
Red, and as beautiful as a comet’s tail.

Was it merely this (merely?!) 
or every single thing gone before, 
or the horror of now, 
that sank me to my knees?

Peadar O’Donoghue is co-editor of PB Magazine, with his wife, Collette. He has published two collections of poetry, The Death of Poetry (PB Press 2019), and Jewel (Salmon Poetry 2012).