Paper Hat

      A wide shore,
   the square. A child leans back
into the huge shell of a hand,
trusting to the granite fingers to break
   his fall. He turns and grins
      at his baby sister

      as noon chimes
   and the crowd strain to where
two figures merge: time eating time.
True, it’s been played before
   but old and child alike
      can’t help but look

      until the dull
   ache that draws sight down.
But someone is always lost, has stepped
into a moment of their own
   and stands there, rapt,
      as if land fell

      away like time
   an inch beyond their feet.
The grey hand opens like a blossom,
a tattered paper hat takes flight
   tracing the ragged rhythm
      of the instant,

      the heat that traps
   or buoys it on a whim of breath,
keeping it gently out of grasp,
a juggling of trance and breeze,
   the moment studded with

Ted Mc Carthy is a poet and translator living in Clones, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines in Ireland, the UK, Germany, the USA, Canada and Australia. He has had two collections published, November Wedding and Beverly Downs. His work can be found on

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