On Monday nights since September we’ve been running a reading club at our house. There are eight of us but sometimes the number in attendance slips a few. There are just two men in the group – myself and John McAleer. He’s a former colleague of mine at UUJ and a very bright man. Anyway, a couple of months ago I suggested that we might round off our book discussion each evening with a favourite poem that each of us would bring along. So John’s wife Bridget mentioned that John wrote poetry, and he agreed to bring a poem in and read it last Monday. It’s called ‘Jude’s Circle’ but that’s just the poem’s jumping-off point. I like it a lot: it’s very thoughtful, just like its creator.


Green glass batteries splashing acid from their noses
Carried in wire frames slung from handlebars
Fetched home from charger’s shop
To coax the radio to life.
What alchemy is this plucking voices from the silence?

It was done before in stone circles set to measure sun and moon
To name the silence and master the emptiness of time.
The words embrace the dumb dead things and make them shine.
The world is named, recast and named again.
We circle its resistant crust and prise a gap
To take possession of everything that is, with words.
When shelter food and sleep are done we turn to play,
Spraying paint from berry-reddened lips to splayed hand, or
Measuring the gate of antelope and bison across cave wall.
Now the ping of radiated sound flung far to starlit space,
The Hubble searching for our match beyond the rim.
All restless play to fill the void and leave no space unfilled.

We circle here as done before to dwell upon the words.

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