Carr’s Lane by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
You can see the tall front door
but don’t expect to be admitted.
On your left is Carr’s Lane,
at the corner a newspaper shop,
up the lane a door, stone steps
worn pale by rain and people climbing,
unlocked at the agreed time
on quiet days for callers they know.
Scholars disagree about
Carr’s Lane, is it cart’s lane corrupted?
Or was there a prosperous
local merchant family called Carr?
– They could have grown rich selling
butter to the transatlantic trade,
beef to London. If their books
gave their story, they have all been cleared.
The dealer came on Monday
early, the shelves were bare before noon,
the library is closed off,
dangerous, woodworm in the floorboards.
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin was educated at University College Cork and The University of Oxford. She is a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin and an emeritus professor of the School of English which she joined in 1966. Ní Chuilleanáin is a founder of the literary magazine Cyphers. Her first collection won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 1973. In 2010 The Sun-fish was the winner of the Canadian-based International Griffin Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Poetry Now Award. In 2016 she was appointed Ireland Professor of Poetry by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.