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Morning Glory Beyond Rathmines

PORTOBELLO BRIDGE

Twice a day I carry my soul over water.
The seedy canal blackened by car exhaust.
When first I came to the footbridge
at the lock, as a child
with fishing net and pinkeen pot,
it was through Little Jerusalem:
the avenues of exile,
past the synagogue that is now the mosque.

On the long road with dome
and campanile, steps to the doors
and life above the shops,
the town clock faces four ways at once,
chimneys sprout weeds
and windows reveal
lodging-rooms with lanterns
of papier-mache.

Twice a day I cross the bridge
at Portobello, look to the hills
or leave them behind
in their morning glory beyond Rathmines.

From A New Tenancy by Gerard Smyth, published by Dedalus in 2004.