Paul McLoughlin was born in London of Irish parents. He continues to teach part-time in a comprehensive school and at university, and plays jazz saxophones and flute.
What Certainty Is Like was published in 1998 by Smith/Doorstop, What Moves Moves (2004) and Forgetting To Come In (2007), both by Shoestring Press. He has written articles, interviews and/or reviews for PN Review, Tears in the Fence, Critical Survey, and most recently, Hard Times (Germany).
Poems have appeared in Anon, Atlas, Critical Survey, Cyphers (Ireland), Envoi, The Frogmore Papers*, Hard Times (Germany), The Interpreter’s House*, Magma*, Navis, Nightingale, Orbis, Other Poetry, Penniless Press, Poetry Life, PN Review, Poetry Nottingham International, The Rialto, Seam, Smiths Knoll*, Southword (Ireland), Tears in the Fence and Wandering Dog. Those asterisked may be viewed at the Poetry Library on the South Bank website. The Southword poems may be found at www.munsterlit.ie. Poems have also appeared in Singing Brink: An Anthology of Poems from Lumb Bank (Arvon Press, 1987); Paging Doctor Jazz: A verse Anthology (Shoestring Press, 2004); and Warp & Weft: An Anthology of Worple Writing (Worple Press, 2007).
Having the Gift
It’s a long way to Hollyhead by night,
then to arrive as close to America as Ireland gets,
to see the very picture I’d imagined in the train’s
dark window: a whitewashed cottage with its whitewashed
garden wall. There was a gate you had to drag
off the ground, and a forge I’d stand outside
at one end of a path that petered out to grass—
and nettles I’d fall in though I’d been forever warned.
If the cottage came while I was travelling backwards
all those years ago through Wales, I couldn’t see
the peat fields the men set off for every morning
with the horse and cart. Once they did say yes, laughing,
only to put me down in the lane. They wouldn’t be
keeping a constant eye on me, for fear I’d disappear.
Previously published in The Rialto, No. 52 Winter 2002/3 ISSN: 0268 5981