Michael Longley


Griffin Poetry Prize 2015
International Winner

Book: The Stairwell

Poet: Michael Longley

Publisher: Jonathan Cape

Click here to read and listen to an excerpt.

Michael Longley reads Boy-Soldier


The spear-point pierces his tender neck.
His armour clatters as he hits the ground.
Blood soaks his hair, bonny as the Graces’,
Braids held in place by gold and silver bands.
Think of a smallholder who rears a sapling
In a beauty spot a burn burbles through
(You can hear its music close to your home)
Milky blossoms quivering in the breeze.
A spring blizzard blows in from nowhere
And uproots it, laying its branches out.
Thus Euphorbus, the son of Pantheus,
A boy-soldier – the London Scottish, say,
The Inniskillings, the Duke of Wellington’s –
Was killed and despoiled by Menelaus.

From The Stairwell by Michael Longley
Copyright © Michael Longley 2014

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