Cyphers Magazine


Publishing poetry, prose and art since 1975

Rough Magic

By Gerard Smyth

for Lynne Parker

(Who names the storms, who names the winds
and stars? – Derek Mahon)

When naming the storms the meteorologists
choose from Shakespeare, the Bible, the Greek gods.
This one will come bringing monsoon rain
and leave us needing candlelight.
The worst of it will be the flood
pawing the back door to get in.
It will shake the strongest walls,
take the washing from the line, move the road sign
half a mile and point it in the wrong direction.
It will come to teach us rage and passion,
its rough magic causing grief and harm.
It will undress the gardens of the coast,
uproot the ancient oaks.
Someone will be blown from a high precipice,
standing there like Lear swaying in the gale.
Wounds already healed will open again.
They have named this storm Ophelia.
Shakespeare pulled a tempest from his sleeve,
one that goes on blowing, never lost its strength.

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