Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Our Sky-Blue Slates Are Steaming In The Sun": Derek Mahon

My previous post featured Stanley Cook's "Second Marriage," which contains the lines:  "The sky stops crying and in a sudden smile/Of childish sunshine the rain steams on the roofs."  The lines bring to mind a poem by Derek Mahon, who is a wonderful poet of sea-coasts and sea-side towns -- "The Chinese Restaurant in Portrush," "Day Trip to Donegal," "Beyond Howth Head," and "The Sea in Winter," to name but a few. 


The kind of rain we knew is a thing of the past --
deep-delving, dark, deliberate you would say,
browsing on spire and bogland; but today
our sky-blue slates are steaming in the sun,
our yachts tinkling and dancing in the bay
like race-horses.  We contemplate at last
shining windows, a future forbidden to no-one.

Derek Mahon, Antarctica (The Gallery Press 1986).

                        John Constable, "The Sea Near Brighton" (1826)

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