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

A winner of the Cúirt New Irish Writing Award and the Fish Poetry Prize, Ciarán O'Rourke is an Irish poet, now based in Galway. His first collection, The Buried Breath, was issued by The Irish Pages Press in 2018 and highly commended by the Forward Foundation. He runs the online archive of poetry-themed interviews, www.islandsedgepoetry.net, and his second collection, Phantom Gang, is forthcoming..

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