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Context

by John McAuliffe


The traffic’s nonexistent,
The sun is first blocked out
Then difficult,

In your face—a loud glare
When I turn the corner
Up the private road to where

I will spend an hour
With one or other daughter
Of the rich, reading Chaucer

Or Congreve or Shakespeare
While the day prepares
To disappear,

Casting into shadow the pool,
The garden’s converted stable
And ancestral stele,

Too near to it this evening
For anything
But mute approving

Glances down the hill
Where the beautiful
Suburbs climb and sprawl

While the girl copies out:
‘“There’s vice that most
I do abhor”—Relate

Quotations to the title,
To the social as well
As to the personal.’

 

John McAuliffe grew up in Listowel, Ireland. He now co-directs the creative writing program at the University of Manchester and directs the Poetry Now Festival in Dun Laoghaire. His first collection, A Better Life (Gallery), was shortlisted for a Forward Prize in 2003 and received an Irish Arts Council bursary. His second collection will be called Next Door. (6/2007)


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