The Saturday poem: Octogenarians at Kardaki

A new poem by James Martyn Joyce

They are fitting a handle to a spade,
sitting in the shadow of the graveyard wall.
The 'new' wood already used,
its battered head discarded, the metal split,
the timber polished dark from years,
as they are themselves.
A woman and two men,
they pass the handle 'round, taking turns,
whittling the brown wood, offering it
to the waiting metal sock.
She offers words, their grey heads
pressed close together, like children,
bending to a task, trying it for size,
the shavings, like time, building up
around their boots,
lodging in their dark clothes,
worms, flying free
into the sunlight of the street.

James Martyn Joyce's new collection of poetry, Furey, will be published by Doire Press later this year.