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Slieve Donard II

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The suite on the side
facing away from the sea
is the suite with the fireplace
and two plasma screen tvs.
Better luxury compensates
for lack of view. Before
the perpetual gas fire, stunned
as if into stone, entering

as you enter your Anne Brontë,
a world muted, chemically arranged,
I try renewal of a mind remade.
Mind is book is water is fire, all change.
Fear is the wake-up call at three,
too early, for planes. Airport quiet.
Leave the hotel without baggage, fly
direct to Geneva. They await you there.

What occurs is only the turning of a page,
imagined for screen. Unseen is greater.
Is attested to, as we rise in Mass.
Water should be avoided by all those
who get into difficulty with ease, and cats.
Searching for the blackberry in the fur-lined
coat, I roam and ring, opening
a closet, from which tumbles a victim,

providing a fitting climax. Mrs. Pontifax
is staying across the hall. The glamour.
She is the Minister of Finance’s daughter.
She sees the cold winter sea rise from her vantage.
Our age is blinded by celebrity, seeing
with the gilded orb of a bronze, dull god.
The domes of our room service cool
after we have slaked and fed. As you read
this becomes the first one written under the influence
of an anti-depressed self, whatever that is to be.
What is, is taken off a shelf, a remaining wrack
that half emerges from the brackish ruins of the year.
Will love reunite?
Will Ireland be solvent?
All nights, holiest, least holy,
be still, be silent.

Ireland, Christmas 2009

Source: Poetry (February 2011)

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

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Slieve Donard II

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  • Born in Montreal, poet, editor, and screenwriter Stanley Todd Swift grew up in St. Lambert and Montreal. He earned a BA at Concordia University and an MA and a PhD at the University of East Anglia.
    In his formally innovative lyric poems, Swift engages themes of innocence and experience. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Selected Poems (2014),When All my Disappointments Came at Once (2012), England Is Mine (2011), Mainstream Love Hotel (2009), Seaway: New and Selected Poems (2008), and Budavox (1999), among others. With Jason Camlot, he coedited the essay collection Language Acts: Anglo-Québec Poetry, 1976 to the 21st Century (2007). He has edited or co-edited numerous anthologies, including 100 Poets Against the War (2003), Modern Canadian Poets: An Anthology (with Evan Jones, 2010), and Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam (with Kim Lockwood, 2012). With Martin Mooney, he coedited Map-Maker’s Colours:...

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