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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
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PADRAIG ROONEY

 

 

 

Padraig Rooney

Padraig Rooney’s In The Bonsai Garden won the Patrick Kavanagh Award for poetry in 1986. His second collection The Escape Artist (Smith/Doorstop) won The Poetry Business competition in 2006. The title poem of The Fever Wards, published by Salt in 2010, won the Strokestown International Poetry Prize. He lives in Switzerland.

 

 

 

 

The Names of the Winds

 

 

The harmattan was blowing and Ahmed woke

beside me in the house that buffeted with wind.

I saw him kneeling at the window, praying,

and felt the film of sand that overnight

had settled on the counterpane and pillow.

Underneath the door and round the window

more was coming in. He finished praying,

came back to bed and snuggled up beside me.

Simoom, he said, correcting me, and slept,

his breath a prayer, his skin a desert erg.

I ran them through my mind like grainy film,

the names of the winds, and traced them on his back

in script the wind effaced. The ghibli and arifi.

The africo that lifts the dunes as far as Rome,

the beshabar that blackens all before it,

and dust a thousand meters high that brings

the Sudanese their annual rain: haboob.

And then I wrote the name of a wind a king

had banned because his son had died inside it.

 

 

February 2011

 

 

 

©2012 Padraig Rooney

 

Author Links

 

Padraig Rooney home page

Rooney poem in Magma

Rooney at Modern Poetry in Translation

Rooney at Salt Publishing

 

 

 

 

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