This week’s poem is from Eoghan Walls’ debut collection, The Salt Harvest, shortlisted for the 2012 DLR Strong Award.
Dark and evocative, these poems involve rich, multi-layered descriptions of the natural world, and cast a sardonic and tender eye on the human condition. All the climates of his native Ireland inspire both the muscular imagery and the complex forms of work such as ‘Star of the Sea’, ‘Cockles’ and the title poem; each line has been ‘packed with ore’. Also apparent is an ambivalent, often deeply ironic attitude towards a culture once steeped in religion, as in ‘Myrrh’ and ‘Confessions to the Southwest’. Threads of humour run throughout, an imaginative playfulness evident in ‘Martin Healey’s War on God and Ireland’, ‘Frog’ and ‘Star Matter’.
Requiem for a Requiem Shark
The necropsy left no doubt; this was a miracle of death.
Unpeeled from her womb lay the body of the christpup,
teeth crusting out its mouth, with a dorsel fin the breadth
of a thumbnail, tipped in black. The finprint of its makeup,
said Dr. Chapman, proved the non-existence of a father.
Angelsharks burrowed deeper into the ocean bottom.
There was no rising afterwards. Lights above the water
were only torches held by men from the aquarium.