top of page

The Hermit

by Cormac Culkeen

Inquiring knocks still him

like a mouse in open grass

beneath a hawk’s shadow

shifting on thermals,

where cold lamp light  

gathers night damp rooms,

growing dust into 

his daily path.

Curtains latch lying windows,

folds of drawing fabric swing

watching aged moments

pass into never,

floormap layers of newspaper,

accretions marking past’s mould,

where brief conceit

did immerse worlds.

Slowly, another knock moves him

through his curt, ancient trail,

his listening chair,

his mumbling radio,

where infinity becomes a stifle

of small gestures glimpsed unseen,

a stained mug,

a kettle’s hiss.

Rheumy squints through glasses

bring him a sleeved arm,

some tuneless whistling

stills his pulse

movement muted to breath

seeing quieter figures shrink,

rain strums upon

fading steps.

Shadows melt in the panes

shuffle from its rivet gaze.

Recognising a stasis,

spokes of sunlight

drop through curtain depths,

seeds of light’s silence

angling for pause,

touch his hands.


Cormac Culkeen is a writer of poetry, fiction, short stories and nonfiction. He lives in Galway, Ireland, and has completed an MA in Writing at the University of Galway, after completing a BA in Creative Writing. His poetry has been published in Skylight 47, The Wild Word, Causeway, Apricot Press, Bindweed, Ropes Literary Journal and The Honest Ulsterman. His debut poetry collection, The Boy with the Radio, was recently published by Beir Bua Press in 2022.


bottom of page