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Poem of the Week: Sionnach

A new work by Matthew Geden

An urban fox, or sionnach, lies stretched out in the sun on the roof of a building off Tara Street, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Red-haired traveller in the night,
untamed emigré in concrete city,
sniffs out apples in market bins -
Kerry Pippins, Lady Fingers of Offaly -

featherweight brush of bristled fur,
dusky shapeshifter through modernity.
He navigates the boozy shadows,
relies on sleight and trickery,

feint movements to preserve self-worth,
skulks back to family in the earth.
Cooped up now in a suburban den
he recalls a stroll down Grafton Street,

no angry farmer, no clucking hens,
a turning world that breathes again.

Matthew Geden is a poet, teacher and translator living in Kinsale. His most recent collection is The Cloud Architect (Doire Press, 2022).