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by Ted McCarthy

The chord shifts from smooth to sinister,
a wave of violet hovers
above the keyboard, the heat of imagined
years shocked by an electronic
chill: what have they done
to those sounds so layered once, thick

as paint applied straight from a palette,
each note now a needle
piercing, untouching, a set of cat’s
claws? Outside, in a cool
corner, light finds an old tom
curled among azaleas, his day dimmed.

Through a hairsbreadth opening of glass
the music is beautiful, it flows
along a fault line in the psyche
like a trickle on a hot day,
resolves, evaporates; what is harmony
but the sound of something leaving us,

the fleeting made audible?
Stay with us so, strangeness, signals
whistle-thin, colour no eye sees,
grow into the cry of a bird long
extinct, as we through song
become unearthly, a sky above cities.

Ted McCarthy is a poet and translator living in Clones, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines in Ireland, the UK, Germany, the USA, Canada and Australia. He has had two collections published, ‘November Wedding’, and ‘Beverly Downs’. His work can be found on


Archive, The River

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