Poem of the week: The Builders

By Tony O’Dwyer

Queen’s College, Galway, 1900. Illustration: The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty

Queen’s College, Galway, 1900. Illustration: The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty

 

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