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MOYA CANNON

 

Moya Cannon

Moya Cannon was born in Co. Donegal, Ireland and now lives in Galway. Her most recent publication of new and selected poems is Carrying the Songs (Carcanet Press, Manchester, 2007).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parisii

“My father was a Paris cattle man.”
(Purgatorio, Dante Alighieri)

The Parisii, who ferried travellers
across this shallow bend of the river,
with its two islands –
unmatched as the eyes
of a Picasso demoiselle –
lived on a worn trade route
which led north to wintry islands,
south to an empire,
and an inland sea.

They knew little of the glitter and tramp
of the Roman legions
which would soon bear down on their homes;
nothing of northern longboats
which would rip the river with their oars
or of tanks which would motor in over metalled roads;

They knew nothing of Attila
or of Charlemagne;
nothing of cathedrals, like tethered ships,
of the flourish of baroque courts,
or of the brief hour of the sans-culottes;
nothing of painted canvas,
of jazz, or of heated café talk,

but, as they waited on the wooden quays,
to load silver or cloth,
or as they cast off, at dawn, in their tapered cots,
raw-knuckled, in February frost and fog
they must have known this –
a pink sun riffling the grey river,
which separated two parts of Gaul.


©2009 Moya Cannon

 

 

Author Links

Carcanet info on Cannon, including reviews

'Meet the Writer'- Cannon discusses her poem 'Crow's Nest'

Bio at Irish Writers Online

 

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