Gerard Smyth

We like it here beside the river

We like it here beside the river
that knows its way from source to sea.
We tramp its riverbank, cross the iron bridge.
At home we have it on an old map of the city –

one that shows downtown territory and routes
that take us through a place of shady deals,
past the house of chandeliers  –
across the river and through the park

where all the trees stand waiting,
either for the rain or that sunny day in April.
The lights along the river
make the river look like its playing with fire.

A river-wind comes with the tide
to sharpen the aroma of brewing yeast.
We like it here beside the river: men on the street
are digging for leaks – water-burst, gas escape.




Sitric’s Kingdom

In Sitric’s kingdom our games were simple:
Spin-the bottle, Blind-man’s buff.
Every night behind the infirmary
the sun went down but never in a hurry.
That’s where I wore my sheriff’s star,
my Robin-of-Sherwood hat, where I saw the hearse
and funeral car taking forever to pass,
heard carols at Christmas in the Church of St Nicholas
and great bells that shook our window
on the world of trader, merchant,
brewery men delivering stout;
the god of repairs who could mend and fix,
The midwife, too, who lost count
of cries she heard, for mother’s milk.







Gerard Smyth was born in Dublin in 1951 and began publishing poetry in the late 1960s when his first poems were published by David Marcus in the New Irish Writing Page of The Irish Press and by James Simmons in The Honest Ulsterman. His most recent collection is The Fullness of Time: New & Selected Poems (Dedalus Press, 2010). He is a member of Aosdana. His website is