Irish Poetry

That morning under a pale hood of sky   
I heard the unambiguous scrape of spackling   
against the side of our wickered, penitential house.   

The day mirled and clabbered   
in the thick, stony light,   
and the rooks’ feathered narling   
astounded the salt waves, the plush coast.   

I lugged a bucket past the forked   
coercion of a tree, up toward   
the pious and nictitating preeminence of a school,   
hunkered there in its gully of learning.   

Only later, by the galvanized washstand,   
while gaunt, phosphorescent heifers   
swam beyond the windows,   
did the whorled and sparky gib of the indefinite   
wobble me into knowledge.   

Then, I heard the ghost-clink of milk bottle   
on the rough threshold   
and understood the meadow-bells   
that trembled over a nimbus of ragwort—   
the whole afternoon lambent, corrugated, puddle-mad.

More Poems by Billy Collins