Maurice Riordan

The Cuckoo Clock

for Michael Donaghy, 1954-2004

Parking near St Pancras long before light,
it wouldn’t spook if you peered from a shop front
or popped from a grille — remembering the night
we arranged a rendezvous at the Elephant,
you like a meerkat in-and-out of the subways
on the traffic island, head cocked but hesitant
when I called A Mhíchíl through the sodium haze
— who already must have felt in your brain a faint
alert above the chug of the Riesenrad…
I observed the scared look but never imagined
you’d be panicked or with a farcical skip
be gone: feral, too soft you were, but glad
in your heart as you eyed up the...

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