top of page
Image by Adam Hornyak


with the martello journal

(Sligo: 1997) These Ghosts Haunt

by carl walsh

the heft of backpack
worn boots that thread stone paths
I drink in Wine Street
talk with Mr Quirke in his butcher-shop
he carves mythology into timber
shapes an off-cut for me
a leaping fish
the ‘salmon of knowledge’
or – perhaps
(as Douglas Adams would’ve had it)
the ‘salmon of doubt’

I’ve cast a cold eye on the poet’s grave
on Medb’s cairn on Knocknarea
on Carrowmore
where stones channel rain
charnel houses
bones split between air and sky
in exchange for Guinness
I donate blood
offer to donate more

ravens mediate between
             this ribcage of standing stones
             this beating heart

the wind has bundled up the clouds
I find a pub to warm my skin
tell barman I’m hitchhiking
he finds a piece of card letterheaded ‘Fosters’
for the Aussie backpacker
on one side he writes ‘Galway’
on the other ‘anywhere...’

[includes quotes from W.B. Yeats in italics]

Carl is an Australian poet. His work has been published in: StylusLit, Cordite, Rabbit, Plumwood Mountain, Verity La, Southerly, Meanjin, Kokako Haiku Journal, Wales Haiku Journal, Tokyo Poetry Journal and Poetry for the Planet: An Anthology of Imagined Futures. His poetry has been shortlisted for the Fair Australia Prize (2017); the Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize (2021) and the Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize (2022).

bottom of page