The Bodhi Tree: a poem by Eoin Devereux

Eoin Devereux

Eoin Devereux


We weren’t that surprised
When Paddy Brassil pointed it out to us
For he had a weather eye for such things

A hazel tree sprouting in the left-hand corner
Of our trim suburban tablecloth garden
And, for all our weeding and trimming
Spraying and mowing
We’d never noticed it

Paddy knew:
How to read clouds
Why a clamour of rooks would swoop in the evening air
How there’d be a hard winter
Where the best wild mushrooms were

He minded our tree, as if it were his own
In early spring, he heralded its new catkins
In summer, he peered through the green cloaked branches
To see if the house-sparrows had fashioned a home
In autumn, he harvested its tanned fruits, one by one

He knew:
That we live just once
That there is no such thing as heaven
That we all return
To the earth
To begin the cycle again

  • Eoin Devereux is a professor at the University of Limerick. As well as numerous academic books and articles, he has published short fiction and poetry in journals such as Wordlegs, the Bohemyth, Number Eleven and Boyne Berries. His short story Mrs Flood was published by Number Eleven Magazine in late 2016. He lectured on David Bowie and Pierrot at the 2017 UL Frank McCourt Summer School in Creative Writing at New York University