poem index

Silences

John Montague

for Elizabeth

1
Poetry is a weapon, and should be used,
though not in the crudity of violence.
It is a prayer before an unknown altar,
a spell to bless the silence.

2
There is a music beyond all this,
beyond all forms of grievance,
where anger lays its muzzle down
into the lap of silence.

3
Or some butterfly script,
fathomed only by the other,
as supple fingers draw
a silent message from the tangible.

From Speech Lessons by John Montague. Copyright © 2012 by John Montague. Reprinted with permission of Wake Forest University Press. All rights reserved.

John Montague

by this poet

poem

for Lawrence Sullivan

There are days when 
one should be able 
to pluck off one's head 
like a dented or worn 
helmet, straight from 
the nape and collarbone 
(those crackling branches!)

and place it firmly down 
in the bed of a flowing stream. 
Clear, clean, chill currents 
coursing and spuming
poem
for Line McKie

The light, tarred skin
of the currach rides
and receives the current, 
rolls and responds to
the harsh sea swell. 

Inside the wooden ribs
a slithering frenzy; a sheen
of black-barred silver-
green and flailing mackerel:
the iridescent hoop
of a gasping sea trout. 

As a fish gleams most