House of Shadows. Home of Simile

By Eavan Boland b. 1944 Eavan Boland
One afternoon of summer rain   
my hand skimmed a shelf and I found   
an old florin. Ireland, 1950.

We say like or as and the world is   
a fish minted in silver and alloy,

an outing for all the children,   
an evening in the Sandford cinema,   
a paper cone of lemonade crystals and

say it again so we can see   
androgyny of angels, edges to a circle,   
the way the body works against the possible—

and no one to tell us, now or ever,   
why it ends, why   
it always ends.

I am holding   
two whole shillings of nothing,   
observing its heaviness, its uselessness.

And how in the cool shadow of nowhere   
a salmon leaps up to find a weir   
it could not even know   
was never there.

Source: Poetry (October 2006).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Poetry magazine

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October 2006
 Eavan  Boland


Eavan Boland was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1944. The daughter of a diplomat and a painter, Boland spent her girlhood in London and New York, returning to Ireland to attend secondary school in Killiney and later university at Trinity College in Dublin. Though still a student when she published her first collection, 23 Poems (1962), Boland’s early work is informed by her experiences as a young wife and mother, and her growing . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets


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