DS Maolalai – Five Poems

Weekend In Leitrim.

I had forgotten
until we arrived
about the swallowsnest
above the door. We stood
looking at them
dart through damp mist
for a while,
their tails bobbing like stop-motion animation,
their claws at the entrance like
a placed decoration,
and then at the white-spread stain
caking the doorstep.
In the morning
rain had fallen
and the car’s front window
was splattered with ash leaves
clashing in red and yellow artwork
like somehow this soggy countryside
lent even glass to rust. I fried four eggs while you were showering
and tested the brackish water from the taps. The dull colour of the world
returned slowly
when you came down and boiled coffee
and asked if it was ok
if you smoked indoors.

For My Girlfriend, After Reading Yuan Hung-Tao And Getting Jealous.

as if to be drunk
were enough
to get me through these poems,
but strong feeling
wants feeling too – I think about you,
circle thoughts like a turkey buzzard
but nothing comes;
just the knowledge
that theatre
is what’s keeping you from me ,
though I know
you have your own boat
to sail in.

I get on the bus in the morning
and frost
flashes the grass like burnt gold
in the sunrise, yellow silver
scorching the earth cold.

I see girls on the bus
your cares,
simple strangers with
cheeks soft as soap –
o emma
can’t I love them
instead of your anxiety.

Storm Season.

the trees are not emerald
they are green and grey
and peppered with dust
as if wind coming over the sahara.

and the sky is not blue
it is orange and white
and deep red
and clouds that skip
are like a woman’s hair running
teased and careful
straight along.

The Swans.

at the bridge
the dublin grand canal,
10 metres across
no waterfall
and no dramatic moment
of ice,
a bar
stretched on each end
and swans
swarming the piazza
to eat bread off the ground,
ungainly as toads,
waddling, flat feet slapping the pavestones;
I told you I loved you there
and my skinny words
were diluted
by the skinny sight of water
and the swans’ skinny necks,
and you,
much as the swans
ruined their majesty
with stumbling
in the lust for bread,
accepted my words
and moved on,
like a doughy popsicle,
like scone
sliding over a plate,
and kissed me
and took me away
with your hand in my hand
small as candy
to some place
I could stop making
the ugly comparisons
that I do.

The General

sings the seasons
like a latin guitarist
and plays a few notes on a harpschicord.
his lieutenant
hands him a sagging water bottle
and a young man
a hill over yonder
looks to his horse.
the season is spring
and the general’s moustache
has a spring to it. their tents are pinned down.
there will be no fighting today. upwind from this scene
more pleasant men are set around campfires
playing cards
and talking to each other
like kids in a yard
at school.




DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working maintenance for a bank and his nights drinking wine. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press.