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Pauline Rowe

Late strings

I
hear –
hear
the
notes
of Beethoven’s late string quartet,
no 12 — encounter you once more in the
smokey sunlight, your tender hands moving
along my shoulder, more artist than
musician, that early Autumn moment in
a narrow bed, in your college-
room, composed. You
held in the notes
of this recording
the beginning –
all crackles then
sweet strings.
Words
matter much less as
we get older, as colours
lift themselves into the shallow
shadows of our minds. I imagine you
as you became, not that glamorous young boy
smiling – with the world calling, but a sadder, shyer
man. Love sealed and promised. Your joy disguised
by fatherly concerns, curiosity channelled into honest
pursuits, the making of small comforts, the work that
builds a home, muscle, momentum, feeling the cool
applause of winter rain on your face as you cycled for
hours alone, your mind on music-making and death,
bones, labour, heart, sweat, excellence in your good
children, pain, conversations with experts, some
quick forgetting of old long-lost abandoned
eccentricities, distant rituals of family,
odd friends gone, how you had to
improve, keep on and prove
worth, prove
yourself
over
and
o
v
e
r.
Beethoven, guiding light
for sorrow, for older reflection, for suffering, for suffering remembered and hidden in anxious age. In
stark black and white I drown in music, hold sound to my skin, rejoice that I knew you. Remember.

 

Pauline Rowe has  a doctorate in Creative Writing from the University of Liverpool.  She has two collections as well as being published in magazines and anthologies including Coast to Coast to Coast, Morphrog, The Reader, Smoke, The Rialto , Envoi, Orbis etc.,She is working on her third collection and a book about American poet, Frank Bidart.

DS Maolalai

Visiting Edinburgh

the city smelled
of biscuits and roasted oats
which I thought
smelled the same – hops
burning in the brewery
apparently. I was there
with a girlfriend,
enjoying the hilly streets,
enjoying
bars
and the hops
between coffee shops.

love
came out of every alley
like a fox
and we kissed
while we waited for the train.

one night
we talked about
bricking the shop that had fired her;
decided against it. instead
just went for
another drink
and met
some more of her friends
whose names
I no longer remember
and don’t have to
anymore.

 

DS Maolalai is a poet from Ireland who has been writing and publishing poetry for almost 10 years. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press, and he has a second collection forthcoming from Turas Press in 2019. He has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize.