The Tuesday Poem

Madra

Poet Patrick Cotter

The dog who read books had nowhere
in his brain for the words to go.

As they streamed in through his eyes, line
by line they re-emerged through each

fibre in his fur with a yelp.
He watched his master’s noiseless act

of reading and copied him as
best he could turning the pages

by swishing his nose, swivelling
his head from side to side and top

to bottom over each page. Words
of English left him a shiny,

glistening coat but Irish words left
him with the most peculiar

smell, attracting the barks in par-
ticular of wolfhounds and red

setters, water spaniels, Kerry
Blues, and the keening of priests who

prayed only in hidden ditches
near forgotten limestone mass rocks.

* Patrick Cotter is the director of Munster Literature Centre, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival and the Cork Spring Poetry Festival. His poem ‘Madra’ won the Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry 2013.


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