Joseph Woods, Ireland

18º Medellin International Poetry Festival
Photo by Nidia Naranjo

Por: Joseph Woods

Latinoamerican Poetry Magazine
No 81-82. July 2008.


It dances on draughts
that do not disturb me,

a fleck of dust, soaring
the micro-Boreas of a corridor.

I was made wait, and the mind
idles over distance. Somewhere,

a Chaos-butterfly is flapping
its wings. I have no ear

for diminutive beats, and this tremble
is perceptible to the eye only.

Or perhaps a corridor is the bell jar
in that theory. I´ve attached myself

to dust and feel it in my bones-
if this fleck sinks from sight

it was a bird of ill omen.



After dinner 
walk to the stern alone

and look out 
for the time it takes

to discern two
darknesses from one.

Suiheesen was the line 
where sky and sea met.

For two horizons,
sky and sea

land and sky
there are two words.

Tonight one darkness
overruns another.

There is no line between
the two. Walk back

to the palpable heartbeat
of a generator. 



       the tepid jolt
of departure
from Kutsukawa,
the eye catches
a persimmon tree
out of leaf
and persimmons 
more orange
for the absence
of leaf.
What is it
with fruit that
takes the frosts
to ripen?



To hold out in a room near the harbour
longing for you over eight time-zones
among your lagan as you’d left it 
scattered around. Preferring the sound 

of your clock to mine and putting 
my own to your time. Your plastic
iridescent-butterfly-hairclip let lie
on the locker; a bracelet graced

the bookshelf. I went back to old ways,
leaving the radio on all night and stravaging
the pier at dusk between sea and sadness
adding to the cargo of ships departing,

attaching dreams to their prows and wondering
how letters ever reach their destinations.
To lie at night with curtains undrawn,
be absolved by moonlight, and if a cloud

came to veil its halogen my heart would race 
until it cleared again. That was a year of counting, 
seeing signs in every subliminal, 
while the garden crawled with magpies.



What still haunts me
is that dust road,
its dry flow

that led to mountains
and beyond their range
another country.

We loped like troops 
we had met, out of step,
and fell in to conversation.

I remember a jeep
passing in its own cloud
and how summer scents

could not conceal
a small death
in the ditch.

At the crossing,
itching in spite of our correct  papers 
they turned us back,
back to the wonder we were in.

JOSEPH WOODS Director of Poetry Ireland, the national organisation for the promotion of poetry in Ireland with four core activities: Publications, Education, Events and Resources & Information. Also member of the Board of the Franco-Irish Festival and Imram festival of Irish language literature and also on the editorial Board of New Writing, The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, University of Wales, Bangor. Amongst his Publications we find: Sailing to Hokkaido, The Worple Press, UK, 2001, Bearings, Joseph Woods, The Worple Press, UK., 2005., Our Shared Japan, An anthology of contemporary Irish poetry. Edited by Irene De Angelis & Joseph Woods, Dedalus Press, Dublin, 2007. Also journals such as The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, Cyphers, Cuirt Journal, Stand Magazine, The Gettysburg Review, Agenda, The Honest Ulsterman, Journal of Irish Studies IASIL-Japan, The Café Review.He was awarded the Patrick Kavanagh Award 2000 for best-unpublished collection. Woods places himself in his poems. In many he is a self-conscious pilgrim traveller, in conversation with demandingly different but enriching cultures (e.g. Japan, Sicily). Joseph Woods arrives on the list with many accomplishments – a Patrick Kavanagh Award for best first collection, an MA in Creative Writing, and the directorship of Poetry Ireland. Woods’ tone is distant, yet his writing has a striking grace and poise. Woods’ approach is deceptively simple. His poetry is very visual and he conveys an accurately the traveller’s or stranger’s sensibility; his eye seems to seek out and isolate the strange and the familiar, without ever quite owning the places or the objects he describes. What makes his work unusual is that Woods overcomes the problems of writing about an unfamiliar place by placing himself nowhere, adrift, and almost weightless. This is a contemplative poetry lost in a daydream and a pure pleasure to read.

Última actualización: 19/01/2022