There’s got to be a term in currency for this:
the debt all losses owe to sentiment
for loss that wakes in happiness; a grief
-nostalgia some Germanic compound coins
and we don’t share. A shadow warms to peace.
The heatwave, at its stillest, yearns a storm.

It’s not unlike the ache to feel betrayed,
that farthest shore that lovers love towards.
They bus it there one cloudless afternoon
of trust and hope, and paddle knee-deep gold,
and find a bar, and hitchhike back the road
a little sunstruck, little lost for words.

Word is, they’ve had it bankrolling Arcadia.
The goatherd gods have cancelled half the milk
and grazed their flocks beyond the sell-by date.
The virtual troops are posting flags on loose
Cycladic change. The honey’s come unstuck,
its bubbles blown away in dark. Today —

a public holiday lie-in, no alarm;
the charge in limbs and juice desire exacts
from dawn; a snooze; a courtyard’s azure glass;
her inch-of-water wartime bath, on me;
the numbers our transistor bleats — might be
remembered as the first forgetful acts.


Conor O'Callaghan


Conor O'Callaghan is originally from Ireland and has taught at Sheffield Hallam since 2007. He has published four collections of poems, all with Gallery Press. The most recent is 'The Sun King' (2013). His work has won several awards, including the 2007 Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry Magazine. In addition to poetry, Conor has also written extensively about sport. His comic prose memoir, 'Red Mist - Roy Keane and Ireland's World Cup Civil War', appeared from Bloomsbury in 2004 and was adapted in 2007 into a film for Setanta TV.