Joe the Poet in Ireland

After visiting the grave of Oisin
and leaving there three hawthorn berries,
a tin of smoked salmon, and a penciled poem
and after sleeping six nights on the brow of faery forts
and a seventh under Thor Ballylee’s parapet
illumin’d by a midsummer moon
Joe descends to the cool damp of a pub’s beer cellar
where he will refuse all food and drink
‘til he composes in the mind’s eye
one-hundred necessary lines.


John Roche did an M.A. in Anglo-Irish Studies at University College Dublin, but that was before most of you were born. Still, he insists on teaching the occasional Irish Lit class at Rochester Institute of Technology, and catching the odd seisiún. His only claim to fame is that Seamus Heaney once bought him a whiskey. The above poem previously appeared in John Roche’s The Joe Poems: The Continuing Saga of Joe the Poet, Kanona, NY, 2012; and also in Cedilla Vi (Missoula, Montana), 2013.