Best of Irish Poetry 2009
Best of Irish Poetry 2010

Editor: Matthew Sweeney



Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan



Done Dating DJs
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition




Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes





Munster Literature Centre

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Arts Council



Cork City Council



Foras na Gaeilge



Cork County Council







Conor Kelly

Conor Kelly was born in Dublin and worked as a secondary teacher there for over thirty years. Now retired, he lives in Courcome, a small village in rural France. He has had numerous poems published in Ireland and abroad in such magazines as Poetry Ireland Review, Boyne Berries, The Honest Ulsterman, Revival (Limerick), The Irish Times, Envoi, The Huffington Post and The Southern Review (Louisiana). He has also been a poetry critic for The Irish Times, The Sunday Tribune and Poetry Review (London). He has a Twitter site (@poemtoday) which publishes a tweet-sized poem, classic or contemporary, on a daily basis and a Tumblr blog which prints a complete poem, classic or contemporary, also on a daily basis.








                                                1. A Phone Call


At 3 a.m.

the brightly lit

phone booth

on Main Street


is empty

of all

but the sound

of ringing.


I send

this poem

to answer

that call.



it says,

"Who's there?

Can I help?"


The line

is dead

or, maybe,



No one       


This poem

rings off.



                                     2. At a Bus Stop


This poem waits

for a late bus

to take it home.


It has no briefcase.

It has no newspaper.

It has no umbrella,


although the rain

continues to drip

down the polished pole


and the streets

are empty of all

but a street lamp


which casts its light

on a bus stop where

this poem waits.



                                         3. Bus ticket


This poem notes a leaf

fall like a lost bus ticket;

notes and turns away.



                                         4. Traffic Lights


How immeasurably quiet the streets are

soon after the pubs have closed, the cinemas emptied

and the last bus has taken the last revellers home.

This poem is being driven slowly in a taxi.


The lights are green.


"Take me,” it says, "to the end of the line."

It sees, as it glances in the rear view mirror,

traffic lights reflecting in the rain-drenched streets.

"Take me," it says, "far from what I once called home."


The lights are amber.


It looks out the window at a shop window

in which three nude and spot-lit mannequins await their clothes.

This poem is reminded of a classical painting.

Maybe it was called "Three Graces". Maybe not.


The lights are red.


The taxi slows on the cobbled stones

to stop at the traffic lights near the quays

beside an all-night café where a waitress

polishes an empty table. This poem is going nowhere.



                                        5. A Window


Sometime after midnight this poem enters

an all-night café near the quays.

It orders a coffee: milk, no sugar.              

It sits alone at a table by the window.

This is, it thinks, a clean well-lighted place.


No one looks in or out the window

at a street where no one drives up or down

past a bus stop where no one waits

for a bus that never arrives.

No one enters or exits the plate-glass door.


This poem is reflected in the glass,

reflected in the polished table,

reflected in the blue eyes of a waitress

who looks out at the river, the night, the quays.

This poem is about to leave. It lingers.



                                    6. In a Hotel Room


Why has this poem chosen

to spend the night

in a cheap hotel

with a view of the river

reflected in a cracked mirror

which hangs above

a cold radiator

leaking a damp stain

on the threadbare carpet

with a floral pattern

completely worn away

beside the bed

on which this poem lies?


Is someone in the room?




©2015 Conor Kelly



Author Links


'After Vallejo': poem by Conor Kelly in Cleaver Magazine

Conor Kelly poem in The Honest Ulsterman

'Words for a Craven Editor' in Rattle







©2009 Southword Editions
Munster Literature Centre

Southword 6 Southword No 7 Southword No 8 Southword No 9 Southword No 10 Southword 11 southword 12 Southword No 14 Southword No 15