A Rare Truth and other poems

By Maurice Devitt

 A Rare Truth


It was a day

when the dog didn’t bark

and the leaves turned to anger.

The icy tip of his tongue

cracked and words

frozen in the counterflow

slipped through,

swirled against the bank

of his lips

broke into open water,

and as their grumpy shape


in the wash of conversation,

the ensign of truth

drifted into view.

The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work


He takes the train from work,

a chair

tucked under his arm

and sometimes

he sits,

looks around

a carriage

filled with commuters,

pictures himself

in pinstripe and Prada,

a champagne-belly,

decisive cuff-links,

a briefcase full of numbers

and a customised watch

showing customary time.

Silent eyes surround him,

muscles twitch

and in the shaky stillness

his fingers

tighten on the whip.



On clear days

there is a point

when everything

seems to stop

and even the leaves

hold their breath.

Then somewhere

in another world,

two streets away,

a hammer

cracks the silence

and the shadow

of last night’s fox

walks through your door.

Still Life with Bullet and Tattoo


A man on the bus

stared into my eyes today.

“What do you see?”,

I asked.

“I see nothing

and I see myself,

I see my fears

stolen by you”.

I followed him

into a large building,

along a wide corridor;

everyone he passed

called him a different name.

As he walked

he got smaller, until

I could just see his shoes.

An office door opened

and for a split second

I saw the painting.



She longs for the permanence

of last year’s mirror

thinks words can buy her time

yet when she looks through

the rushes of her life,

a wilful ship is sailing

oars dipped, as though hoping

to break the door of morning

before the dogs are barked

out of their dreams – and still

she hides in the long shadow

where one smile

could change the ink of evening.




Maurice Devitt is a student at Mater Dei in Dublin he has just completed an MA in Poetry Studies. Recently short-listed for both the Cork Literary Review and Listowel Writers’ Week Poetry Collection Competitions, placed third in The Joy of Sex competition and long-listed for the Doire Press Chapbook Competition, during 2011 he was short-listed for both the Fish Poetry prize and the Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition, and was also runner-up in the Phizzfest poetry competition. Over the past twelve months he has had poems accepted by Orbis, Abridged, Moloch, Revival, Boyneberries, Paraxis, Weary Blues, thefirstcut, Stony Thursday, Ofi Press, Bluepepper, The Weekenders and Smiths Knoll and he is working towards a first collection.


photo by Kristi Harms


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