Kevin Graham

Song of the Sunlit Voice

Kevin Graham

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And life’s enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim

–Byron, Childe Harold


Then suddenly sunlight, warm honey

from the sky clearing rain from memory.

Birds come out, bob on the finest

branches, sing as if song were the only

natural thing. In a saturated meadow

flower-breath blooms – hawkbit,

sneezewort, yellow-rattle, sorrel – colours

glowing as if on an artist’s palette.

Daphne and the laurel bough instil

unseen truths; the golden apple of the sun

windfalls, rolls among soft buttercups

where dappled grass offers a thousand

kisses, pricks sensation until it’s stirred

like a drowsy lynx. What is all this juice

and all this joy? The glassy trees

cluster and sigh, shed a leaf or two

for suspicion’s mercy. The cloudless

vault instils a kind of sweet bereavement,

as if the yolk of our days had flown

the way of the chimney swift

and we are left open-handed, palms ripe

with emptiness. We live in time’s

pocket, tumble out like kittens being

born over and over against our will.

The human heart is a hedgerow packed

with starlings; devotion counts

in endless repetition. As Sheba came

to Solomon, so we arrive in the middle

of a scene in which all things green

sparkle near the river’s rainbow-spray.

Clean-billed, blank, unceremonious,

the air’s an invisible page, a freedom

from which to draw beneath the surface

those things we keep in hiding,

private touchstones that might sustain us.


Kevin Graham


Kevin Graham's recent poems have appeared AgendaPoetry Ireland Review, Oxford Poetry, The Stinging Fly and othersHe was shortlisted for a 2014 Henessey Literary Award and is working towards his first collection.