Repost from Irish Arts Center:
In celebration of Irish Arts Center's 13th annual , from now through the December 2-4 event weekend, we will be sharing with you work from each of the festival's participating poets. We begin this year's series with "Ilex," from 2021 Laurel Prize winner Seán Hewitt.
Seán reads this Friday at our Favorite Irish Poems launch event, and again on Saturday with Catherine Barnett. All Saturday and Sunday's readings and conversations are free—reserve tickets @ irishartscenter.org/event/13th-annual-poetryfest.
(after the birth of my nephew)
Distracting myself, waiting for news,
I walked until I saw this white cluster
of holly growing at the base of a tree,
the stems yellowed, the angled clutch
of leaves like a bleached coral, a pale
antler, almost medieval, like a relic
unearthing in the gloom of the wood.
Later, still the baby would not latch,
and I came back to this holly, unhardened
by the sun, unable to turn the light
into strength. May it keep its whiteness,
may it never learn the use of spikes;
or, in time, when a crown is made of it,
may the people approach one by one
to witness how a fragile thing is raised.
From "Tongues of Fire" by Seán Hewitt, published by Jonathan Cape. Copyright © Seán Hewitt, 2020. Reproduced by permission of The Random House Group Limited.
Seán's memoir, "All Down Darkness Wide," is out from Penguin Press.