Diarmuid Cawley

After Swim

Aching down those wooden stairs, each step

worn by many feet, turning

back towards the kitchen, wine poured

pulling on clothes across a still-wet back,

hungry limbs work from memory.

Warm breeze through the kitchen,

evening sunlight crashes in the oaks, 

throwing gold across dry August

grass, across the dark wooden table, across

my spirit; cicadas exploding 

into noise.

Whiskey at the Graveyard Gates

A place with walls, measuring

with string, tools, and pencil,

knowing distances in smaller landscapes.

The cure for burns licked 

from the yellow belly of a mankeeper, dock leaf

for the nettle. Jet in the clouds, ghostly rumble,

long summer grass learning

how it all goes—slow, the old 

round pin sockets replaced, a man

on the roof adjusts the reception, 

haystacks dry in the sun, tea with bread, 

field mushrooms white as ivory

on the pan with butter, a trout now and then. 

The weeks’ routine, a way of doing, midday bell

takes off his cap, she blesses looking down, 

food soon served, salt and butter are kin

honesty in the uncomplicated pot;

the taste of this place, the same as next door

the pub at night, well-water at dawn,

the gates of the graveyard not painted in years.

Diarmuid Cawley won a Poetry Ireland bursary in 2021. An Irish poet and writer from Sligo, he lectures about wine, food studies, and the cultural aspects of beverages in TU Dublin. His work has appeared in The MartelloFolk Life, RTE Brainstorm and The Irish Times.

Twitter: @IsleNationWine