Cityscape

By Eavan Boland b. 1944 Eavan Boland
I have a word for it —
the way the surface waited all day
to be a silvery pause between sky and city —
which is elver.

And another one for how
the bay shelved cirrus clouds
piled up at the edge of the Irish Sea,
which is elver too.

The old Blackrock baths
have been neglected now for fifty years,
fine cracks in the tiles
visible as they never were when

I can I can I can
shouted Harry Vernon as
he dived from the highest board
curving down into salt and urine

his cry fading out
through the half century it took
to hear as a child that a glass eel
had been seen

entering the seawater baths at twilight —
also known as elver —
and immediately
the word begins

a delicate migration —
a fine crazing healing in the tiles —
the sky deepening above a city
that has always been

unsettled between sluice gates and the Irish Sea
to which there now comes at dusk
a translucent visitor
yearning for the estuary.

Source: Poetry (April 2013).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2013
 Eavan  Boland

Biography

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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION Ireland

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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