Pick-a-Poem: Ron Smith


Welcome to another one of our weekly Pick-a-Poem posts. I hope that your week is going well. If you happen to be looking for a poetry pick-me-up, I hope this post can deliver. Each week we feature a new poem from Poetry Daily, a great website for new poetry every day, that we hope you’ll enjoy. This week we’re featuring Cairbre & Bres the Beautiful by Ron Smith.

According to his bio page, Ron Smith has published several books of poetry, including Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery (1988), Its Ghostly Workshop (2013), and The Humility of Brutes, which is forthcoming. His work has appeared in publications such as The Nation, The Southern Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Kansas Quarterly. He is the Poet Laureate of Virginia and Writer-in-Residence at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond.

for Delores

She’d had a long day, was sick
of the figures and the phone calls.
Tell me a story, she said.

“Bres the Beautiful,”
I said, “taxed them into poverty, into
misery. Nobles chopped wood, built stone walls.
Aristocratic hands blistered and calloused.
A cold rain lashed Tara. The poets refused to sing.”

“I need a drink,” she said and I got her one.

“Cairbre stared at three dry cakes
on a cracked plate. In verse he
cursed the king. The chieftans
and their artisans shaped Nuada
a new arm, silver, joint to joint, sinew to sinew,
with charred rushes to heal the old wound.”
She rubbed her knee,
the one she had fallen on at the beach.
“Thus,” I said, “the land was made whole again.
Bres the Beautiful took fright, fled.

And then, guess what?” ”And then,” she said,
yawning, “the poets sang.”

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem! For more posts like this one, click here.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan



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