Martin Burke & Michael Henry

Martin Burke

What country is this?
What landscape and inscape
what winter fire breaking the ice of December?

Images abound
and there are further enticements
to be reckoned with

perhaps also the memory of a fresco
which seemed more living and alive
than its static pose suggested

you are here, you are there
and for one instant on a ledge
there is no difference between

one moment and another
as if the burning balance tipped to one side
and again called on you to follow.

Martin Burke is a widely published Irish poet/playwright living in Belgium. A recent book, The Easter Ballad, is published by Words on the street Press, Galway.


Michael Henry

Lost in Vacation

Separate holidays,’ she sighed. ‘Take these.’
Six stamped addressed postcards,
one for every day I was away.
The stamps were redder than roses.

Walking cross country
where horses cantered past like painted ships
I thought of them on their last holiday in France:
Avignon, Provence and gorse smelling of vanilla.

Now the compass has moved an olfactory point,
the common seems sprayed with coconut
and I long for the sepia postcards they never sent
with bright yellow stamps like gorse.

I think of them in Carcassonne and Nîmes ‒
I think of my father glorying in Romanalia
like Cicero and my mother laughing
when there was music or street theatre afoot.

She said we’d be going our separate ways.
I didn’t know the split would be so Caesarean.

Born in Liverpool in 1942, Michael Henry read Modern Languages at Oxford. Soon after graduating he emigrated to Canada, where he worked as a teacher for thirteen years. He had his first poems published in Canadian magazines and also broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Since his return to England he has lived in his home-town, Cheltenham.