Poem of the Week | April 01, 2009

This week we are proud to feature“Friendship,” by Kerry Hardie.  The poem is previously unpublished. It will appear in her new collection Only This Room (Gallery Press) in October 2009.

Kerry Hardie was born in 1951 and lives in County Kilkenny, Ireland. Her publications include four collections of poetry, a chapbook, and two novels. Most recently her book of poems The Silence Came Close was released with Gallery Press. She has won many awards, including the National Poetry Prize (Ireland).  Hardie’s work also appears in TMR issues 30:3, 27:2, 25:3, and 24:1.  Her poem “Sheep’s Fair Day” is available as an online audio feature through TMR’s website.

The first verse of this poem came from a painting I saw in the Prado. It showed a man standing alone in a shadowy space lit from unseen windows set high near the roof. The man stood at his ease. For some reason the room became an image of the life-dusty, shambolic, yet full of this visiting presence.

The central image for the second verse emerged on my return home. I was watching a missel thrush in our tangled garden. I had to watch covertly as the slightest movement betrayed my presence. This second verse followed quite naturally from the first and I knew they belonged together, though I didn’t yet understand why. I sat looking at them on the page till the title came.

Friendship

From time to time someone
arrives
right there in the middle of the room
of your life,
and already you know them so deep
you can say out what lies in your heart,
or not.
Saying, not saying-
one coin.
 
There are those who edge through the door,
wary
as half-grown thrushes.
You offer them coffee, a seat.
You feel out each move,
your eyes glancing theirs, then away.
One wrong twitch and they’re gone.
Vanished
into wild grasses.

SEE THE ISSUE

SUGGESTED CONTENT