I grew up with two tongues –
for a poet, that’s a bonus.
I knew milk could also be bainne
and quiet could be cuinas.
I love the fact that druid
in Irish means starling, a bird.
But one of my favourites is focal –
the Irish word for word.
For it looks like an English word,
focal, ‘of a point of origin’ –
which our words are, forever marking
the place where we begin.
But it doesn’t rhyme with local,
no, we pronounce it ‘phucal‘ –
which sounds like an English expletive,
a little bit near the knuckle.
So, when asked what I’ve written lately,
don’t think me rude or absurd
if I simply smile a cryptic smile
and then say ‘Focal‘ –