Our Poem Of The Week, presented in association with Poetry Ireland, is Cry by John Montague.

John Montague’s forthcoming collection, Second Childhood is being published on 28 February 2017 — on what would have been John’s 88th birthday. A windfall from one of Ireland’s revered and best-loved poets.


As I work quietly

by a large window

overlooking the sea

I hear a sudden cry,

intense and terrible.

Did someone strike a child

or lash a cringing dog?

I straighten and turn

to see workmen

surround a large

and green-leafed tree

which they are cutting down

with old-fashioned axes.

The green-and-white entrails,

the clash-and-shudder of branches,

summon a victim of some savagery.

But worse is the cry. Centuries of life

are poured into that sound. And after

they are done, the tree felled,

that cry goes on, absorbed by the sea

and thrown back.

From Second Childhood, reproduced by kind permission of The Gallery Press