ISSUE FIVE
November 1998

R.T. Smith

RT Smith R.T. Smith, the editor of Shenandoah, has poems in recent issues of Poetry, The Georgia Review, Black Warrior Review, The Southern Review, Atlantic Monthly, and Poetry Northwest. His Trespasser (LSU, 1996) and Hunter-Gatherer (Livingston, 1996) were both nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His latest, Split the Lark: Selected Poems, will be issued next year by Salmon Press in Ireland.
The Girls of O'Connell Street    Read Along with the Author
(R.T. Smith's personal introduction)

for Brendan Galvin


The brash klaxon of a Guinness lorry
shivers the air where the cashiers
and salesgirls of Dublin steer
swift as a regetta past
the Liberator's lofty effigy
and the mossgreen
bronze statue of Joyce.
Sloop-elegant and subdued
by formula fashion,
except when the sun
catches an earring
blazing like a Viking blade,

they glide and tack in twilled
wool and linen, amazing
for their deft navigation
through frenzy, all trim
rigging, the grace of necessity
and obligatory smiles.
Ready to clock in,
sort change and set the kettle,
they lend the morning a symmetry
almost puritan, routine wed to duty,
all dreams tightly leashed,

until one imp from County
Kerry with gold in her nose
and magenta dreadlocks appears
from absolutely nowhere,
narrow keel to the wind
and rainbow shawls flying,
her laughter swiftly unstitching
any edict of taste or Election
ever decreed by Calvin Klein
or John Calvin.

 

 

R.T. Smith: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue FiveThe Cortland Review