Poetry: Ciarán O’Rourke | Cassandra Voices

Poetry: Ciarán O’Rourke

Dutch Masters

An age away, the scented evergreens
are still, a lucent wave commits
to hush, the sun emits a breath,
as the noon-deep
labourings commence:
the slender, severed necks
are tossed, the throttled mouths
are mounted in the heat,
and inch by inch
the fragrant earth is stripped
of human foliage, an
evacuated island
glinting in the sun,
whose high, in-
sinuating witness, too,
is whittled down
by windy-deep sea-distances
traversed by golden ships,
the agony
drowned out,
the heady deaths annulled –
a complicated commerce
that finds its second lustre here,
in the satin cheeks
and quiffed moustache
of the Laughing Cavalier,
the fluorescent cuffs
and florid sash
a single flow and glimmering,
his canny, quiet eyes
a-gleam, two tiny pools
of blue and black,
by the light of the world.
Featured Image: The Laughing Cavalier (1624) by Frans Hals

About Author

Ciarán’s second collection, Phantom Gang, was longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2023. His first collection, The Buried Breath, was highly commended by the Forward Foundation for Poetry in 2019. Both are published by The Irish Pages Press.

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