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DEAN BROWNE

 

 

 

dean browneDean Browne is from Tipperary. He is an undergraduate of UCC and lives in Cork. He won the 2011 Cuisle National Poetry Competition for his 'Sonnet to the Midnight Air', which was published in English and Slovenian. Previous publications include The Penny Dreadful Magazine, and his work is forthcoming in the spring issue of The SHOp.

 

 


 

 

 

Shortlisted in the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition

 

 

Cithóg

 

When old master McCarthy entered one day
Carrying a squat pine box of biros
To show his scholars handwriting the real way,

 

The world could have ended in our classroom.
He held it open, each of us took one
And sat back at our desks. The lesson came.

 

No pencil-sharpenings, no nib to lick,
I sloped my pen for cursive like the rest,
Angled it in awkwardly. Inky-slick,

 

My line capered and stalled across the page,
Slipped below, ran above with every stroke,
Half in control, half impatient to be finished.

 

Wrists ached with scribal cramp. I looked around
Then back down at my own and noticed that
My shaky hand had smeared its lettering,

 

An ink-blot spread, the calligraphy gone wrong.
Panic came over me. What might he say?
I covered the messed copy with my hand

 

And hoped he wouldn’t check. But all too late.
Now he breathed down my neck, looking cross, and I
Was one of the ‘touch-me-nots’ who’d come and made

 

A show of him, and that would be punished.
On the last day of school he turned to us
For a short handshake. Offered me his left.

 

 

 

©2014 Dean Browne

 

 

 

Author Links

 

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