Come on pilgrim to a pagan place, by Keith Payne

Come on pilgrim to a pagan place

for Lorcan


How many winters in the wild wood downing cans?

Any wonder we had stiff little fingers.

They were stunning days all the same, the real wonderstuff,

HUP! two, three, four, a new model army

modelled on your brother’s vinyl collection,

we’d seen the whole of the moon

and shed our father’s clothes, and anyone who couldn’t keep up

was just a philistine.


Emotional fish swimming streams of whiskey

we had suicidal tendencies,

paranoid visions from too much of that petrol emotion.

I should have copped by the cut of those violent femmes

that it was always going to be a blue Monday,

but we bantered on through the night like talking heads.

Is this my beautiful life? No, my friend

this is the sea.

Keith Payne is the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award winner for 2015-2016. His collection Broken Hill, (Lapwing Publications, 2015), will be followed by Six Galician Poets, (Arc Publications) in 2016.