Praise for Rachel Coventry’s previous collection Afternoon Drinking in The Jolly Butchers
“Coventry doesn’t romanticise—her portraits do not eschew brutality—but neither does she condemn. In her first collection at least, Coventry is closer to Baudelaire than she is to the aforementioned quality armchairs; the title poem brings to brilliant life the world of people most polite society considers ‘wasters’.”
The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies
“I adored this distilled and spiky work… Coventry has a striking ability to mine the achingly bleak for cracking lines.”
Poetry Ireland Review
As death blooms within you
pressing black and purple
against your skin,
I call in to visit
and despite everything
we maintain the family tradition
of saying nothing
How are you doing? I ask
I’m fine, you say.
I get on with the business
of being middle-aged and afraid.
You, with your drifting in and out.
You say, sure that’s the way.
It is, I say.
On the Death of an Absent Father
It is a very different thing to remember a place
while it still stands,
even as a ramshackle ruin,
than to remember it once it has been torn down.
The long corridor from the toilets
to the dancefloor, where we sat for hours
surreptitiously pouring vodka from the naggins
in our handbags into our glasses,
The Warwick Hotel, broken and dilapidated,
invisible for an age as we drove past it, forgetting
how little hope we had as we attempted to launch ourselves
from that dirty carpet, how little hope
as we adorned the pitiful world with laughter.
The Warwick Hotel is gone. It is an empty plot
that someone will force a future on.
I consider you as old Tantalus,
still reaching for his fruit.
You raise your arms to loosen
then gather up your hair
and all my stale cleverness
is instantly erased; but if age
has taught me anything it’s that
the heart wants what it wants.
While I live, I relent again and again;
let the ferocious heart love.
Poems Copyright © Rachel Coventry 2022