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Ciaran McDermott: a poem

Chasing Light

How old when it first sang your name

as clear as the ring of polished glass, Vincent?

Were you yet a pale boy

stalking the hulked shadows of barges

as they pearled into the gold of the Amer,

flashing pigments on a molten palette?

Did it yield even then the secret of the purple sky

puddled like absinthe? Of Dawn's shower

of sparks, each petal brightening towards

a sheet of perfect gold,

the wheat returning year after year?

Or the daggered blossom of stars, the way the fruit

of the moon ripens from spilled mercury

into the bronzed mouth of a shell?

Or did the only true note rise just once

from the dim roots of that final morning,

chiming through the crooked teeth of trunks,

the jaws of night come to claim you at last?

Ciaran McDermott grew up in rural Staffordshire but currently lives in Stirling, Scotland. His work has been published widely in journals and anthologies, and has appeared in Acumen, Poetry Birmingham, Dream Catcher, Rust & Moth, Obsessed With Pipework, The Journal, "Short and Sweet" (Soor Ploom Press) and "Sun-Tipped Pillars of Our Heart" (Black Bough Poetry), among others. He was longlisted for the Erbacce Prize in 2021 and 2022, and longlisted for the Dai Fry award in 2022.


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