Table Talk


My father and I could only ever talk about

politics and literature –

real matters were always left out of the conversation.

During walks with the dog, we’d quiz each other

on Orwell (who we loved)

and Bradbury (who he tolerated,)

and over the dinner table we would discuss

the latest national news stories.


Sometimes he’d tell me of Dublin and

the poets he read when he lived there.

Blake, Heaney, Muldoon – the works.

We planned a trip to the cottage he stayed in,

over the green hills

and out of reach

of the yells of city drunks.


We never went.

We knew we wouldn’t.

Nothing we said was ever concrete;

we relied on the abstract, the imaginary.

The literal never suited us,

so we’d talk about

books and politicians

and tell a good number of lies.



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