Paul McMahon

The Crows

It was obvious from the way the crows came stumbling over the hill

as though running along an old track in the woods, through trees
cut down by time lived and died by others I heard of in stories told
by my grandmother to my mother to my sister to my brother who then
told me over the phone in the middle of the night in case he forgot
like the thousand other times his memory let him down when the dawn
washed over his brain’s estuary like the crows now wash overhead
along the treelined ghost-road through the air’s invisible ground
like wounded soldiers en route home from the frontline trenches
flapping the black wings of their youth to stave off the winter
that follows them, and follows them, that knows where they live,
that knows where we all live, and the very second we’re all due home.


Paul McMahon‘s debut poetry chapbook, Bourdon, was published by Southword Editions. Paul was awarded The Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize by Carol Ann Duffy and The Nottingham Open Poetry Prize by Neil Astley. Other poetry awards include The Moth International Poetry Prize, The Westival International Poetry Prize, 2nd prize in The Basil Bunting and The Salt International Poetry Prizes, runner-up prize-winner in The Troubadour and The Atlanta Review Poetry Prizes, and bursary awards for poetry from The Arts Councils of Ireland and N. Ireland. Twice nominated for the Forward prize, his poetry has appeared in journals such as The Poetry Review, The Threepenny Review, The North, Ambit, The Best New British and Irish Poets, The Winchester Poetry Prize Winners Anthology, Poetry Ireland Review, The Atlanta Review, The Irish Times, The Salt Anthology of New Writing, The Montreal Poetry Prize Global Anthology, The Stinging Fly, and others. Also a playwright, Paul is developing his new play with The Abbey Theatre.

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