The Unwound Clock

79 pp, 1990
ISBN 9978-0-948268-74-8

The book introduces a poet of great promise

“IT’S NOT HARD to see why Pat Boran received the Patrick Kavanagh award…” began the review of Pat Boran’s debut collection of poems in Poetry Ireland Review, that reviewer calling its central, multi-voiced section “an uncanny, utterly absorbing work…” Boran’s debut is often praised for its affectionate depiction of small-town life but it is also a book full of magic and magical transformations, and a careful probing of our failure to make such transitions.


Water clanks from the tap
like a chain—a lifetime

since anything has moved here
but rats and birds. I see

the last inhabitants as a father
and son, the father

sending the son off to the city
with a handshake and a pocket

of old pound notes.
He might as well be sending him

to bring home the time
without a watch to carry it.


When You Are Moving Into a New House

When you are moving into a new house
be slow to write the address in your address books,
because the ghost who are named there
are constantly seeking new homes,
like fresher students in rain-steamed phone booths.

So by the time you arrive with your books
and frying pan, these ghosts are already
familiar with that easy chair, have found
slow, slow creaks in the floorboard,
are camped on the dream shores of that virgin bed.