Poem of the week: The Builders

By Tony O’Dwyer

1848 Queen’s College, Galway

We are the gaunt men from Conamara,
Laying stone on carved stone,
Building, not for function, but to say
We need beauty and a fist of grain.
For that, and a bowl of soup, we'll conjure
Gargoyles out of rock, smooth folds
Of vaulted ribs round doors,
Balanced by a science we need not know,
From springer stone to voussoir.
And in the evenings we'll walk to An Ceathrú Rua
The pain of work coursing through our limbs;
Meet the setting sun, orange on fading blue,
A cabin, a wisp of smoke, a clamp of turf;
Gaze in contemplation of line and curve.

Tony O’Dwyer’s first collection Off Guard was published by Bradshaw Books in Cork. He was runner-up in the Patrick Kavanagh Award and is co-editor of Crannog literary journal