The First Rod: Mackerel at Inis Oírr

Cast the line off the pier,
summer nights
into dark stillness,
read the dusk blind,
Atlantic waters at full tide.
Wrist so deft and light
arching the throw
high and wide now,
all six flies kiss
the black surface like stars
shooting without trace

where a shoal
in its own sweet hour
clots and ripples a current
to the hands, charged
at the least quiver
to reel in the bowed line
amid whoops and cries,
at pains to land
the weight of this prize,
wriggling and twitching
with silvery light.

‘The First Rod: Mackerel at Inis Oírr’ was published in Suntrap.

Video recording

The Irish Poetry Reading Archive, part of the UCD Special Collections, has released a number of readings by Catherine Phil MacCarthy of her poems. These readings are now available on the Archive’s YouTube channel; click on the link below to access Phil reading :

Audio recording

Click the link below (it opens in a new window) for a recording of Catherine Phil MacCarthy reading The First Rod that was recorded and published by the Seamus Heaney Centre Digital Archive in Queen’s University, Belfast:

The First Rod →