Maurice Devitt – three poems


On dark nights she taunts him
with names from her past,
men she’d had

in the eavesdropping rooms
of cheap hotels, men
who slobbered love,

then left her with the aura of sweat
and a crumpled bank-note.
Tonight he remembers their names

recites them
like a litany of devils,
voice spiralling

until it cracks
and in the sharp cold of morning
he heeds her advice –

Be sure
to button your duffel-coat
right up to the neck

Growing Up in Colour

We argued
was grey really light black
or dark white? It didn’t matter,
either way you wanted red,
the colour of a dress
you had seen
on the back of The Bunty
when you were ten,
cut out with precision
and blunt scissors.

The uniform chaos
of your teenage years,
lost in a sea of slate
and beige, brightened
with a sneak of lipstick
for the short walk home
and later your first tattoo,
a small red heart
still waiting for a name.


You disappeared on one of those bright,
geometric days when everything is visible
and now we fill the hours
with imaginings of you. Waving
from the deck of a cruise ship
on the Baltic, the man beside you
turns his face away. On a forest path
not far from here, a stranger,
chasing a dog, spots you walking alone,
but always yesterday, never today.
Then hazy pixels of you,
goofing on the street corner
of some vaguely familiar town, face
scarfed against the wind, eyes scuffed.
And every day we wake
while the clock sleeps, lie listening
for your cough in the morning mist.

A graduate of the MA in Poetry Studies at Mater Dei, Dublin-based Maurice Devitt recently won the Trócaire/Poetry Ireland Competition 2015. He has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award, the Listowel Writers’ Week Collection Competition and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition. He has had poems published in various journals in Ireland, England, Scotland, Mexico, the US, Mexico, India and Australia and is a founder member and chairperson of the Hibernian Writers’ Group.


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