We're delighted to present our Poem Of The Week, presented in association with Poetry Ireland

This week's poem is Starry, Starry Night in the National Library by Moya Cannon - read it below.


Vincent, you would have loved it,

as Don McClean's song poured out

of the bottom, left-hand corner of the reading room

of the Irish National Library,

loudly enough for all twenty-three readers,

drowsy browsers, graduate students,

academics on sabbatical,

to lift and turn startled heads,

like sea-birds grazing a salt-marsh.

He sang for a whole yellow minute, maybe two,

while the readers continued to shift and turn around

not quite upset that their silence had been stolen.

From her curved counter a librarian scanned the desks

and a brown-jacketed, middle-aged man tiptoed

from the catalogue section and gently

closed the lid of a Mac Air, and a long, slow

sigh came from all forty-four cherubs

who had been swinging their plump garlands

high on the green library wall since your time

and I was blown back to a bedsit on South Circular Road

where, forty years ago, I blu-tacked a poster

of your blue and yellow field of stars

at the head of my single bed, not finding it strange

that the stars should swirl like small suns in the pit of night,

not knowing it was painted a year before

you took your own aching, luminous life,

and you, not knowing, as you fought your darkness

and frenziedly harvested the light of stars and sickle moon,

how it would all be poured into a song,

how your brush would flood a library across the sea,

a century later, with golden, starry light.