A poem for the day… Bonfire Makers

Mick has generously let me take up his offer to guest bloggers a while back, and the idea is that, a la Moochin Photoman, I’d post a poem a day for the month of August, with the odd book review or other more or less ‘cultural’ item thrown in. In deference to the appetites of Slugger’s bloggers and commenters, I’ll probably draw on my more ‘political’ poems – and I suppose raise two questions. First, do the creative arts have much to contribute to our local political conversation? And then, how do poems written here deal with the saturation of our local English with political meaning? Anyhoo … to get the ball rolling, here’s one from the mid-90s…

Bonfire Makers

start young, with a kind of architecture:
their flammable one-room shanties
dot the demolition sites and crossroads, Dada
haystacks, invitations to lightning.

All night sharp faces keep their eyes peeled.
All day they go collecting door-to-door
the inciendiary trash of the streets –
forklift pallets, truck tyres, furniture.

With their nose for what catches,
their instinct for ritual and sense of timing,
they gather it all into the old charred circle,
its birthmark. Then burn it down.

Author of four collections of poetry, the most recent, The resurrection of the Body at Killysuggen, published in June 2011 by Belfast’s Lagan Press. He blogs about his latest book on www.killysuggen.wordpress.com.