Armstrong Suffers Some Last Minute Anxiety

While Armstrong hovered
inside his capsule
            on approach
he was hit
            with the sudden fear
that when he stepped down
            onto the surface
he might involuntarily
            pupate from
his suit
            and find himself
flitting towards
            some distant
strange light.





The Sea of Tranquillity Grows Gills

The sea
dressed in its mid-winter green
lifts its
developing gills to the surface
to breath
before they slap shut again,
again, again,
as if constantly testing the heft
of its own
cradle song that comes crashing
about it
as the gulls try to tug life from
its flesh,
a figure in loose white clothing
themself from its ever-closing gills,
a foundling in this new world.





Armstrong Discovers a Fishing Trawler on the Moon

The black bulking blemish of it
plinthed with concrete blocks
and held down with fraying ropes
of bleached orange and blue
on what was once
the shore of the Sea of Tranquillity,

all the fish having previously
swarmed and broken free of the
sphere, to migrate en masse,
navigating by the stars
rivering through the emptiness
hunting for new spawning grounds.





The Loneliness of Armstrong

His stuttering bounce out along the shore of Tranquillity
where he tried to pause

to let his cyclops visor reflect the Earth
like a candle held behind a hand
                      being walked passed in the dark
and the longing to see and hear
the ocean’s candle-flicker
           tired and exhausted
                      along a pebbled shore,

and then thoughts about frost
like a partially developed image
from a previous century,
          bells of buds
                     silenced by the Earth
as it held its breath for a night
then exhaled a dead world

something remembered from a walled-garden
during a life-time that he never actually lived.





The Adoration of Armstrong on the Moon

As the disc of the Sun descends
and goes through the lunar dusk process
the shuffled sunken boot-prints of Armstrong
resemble the inverted jellyfish that seemed
to have glued themselves to the sands of Dogs’ Bay,
Connemara, their wiring and cables that they had trailed
across the oceans lying exposed and threatening

the hull of their shells having lifted slightly
on to the breathing water, before shifting their
contained weight to slip constantly forward,
these globular shrines, each pinked with a single drop
of the Christ’s blood, which they bear in
Pertinent Testament as they drift the migrating seas.





Armstrong Re-Enters the Earth’s Orbit Through My Dream

Back again in the childhood home
the semi-halo of the South Ring Road           
audible in night’s distance                                   
the same road on which the young swan crashed
mistaking the liquid reflection
of the dying winter sun’s recent rain’s,
coming in to land
on the golden river of its tarmac.






Disorientated by the shifting labyrinth
of the ocean’s echo chambers,
he had come ashore on the west coast of
Ireland, and found himself, as if a thing
abandoned, with his dolphin armour
battered all about him.

This dolphin, barely bubbling life,
balanced on a raft of bright orange
lifejacket in knee-high waters,
the six hands of the three humans
holding it steady, until the ocean
found its rhythm.

On a tide that has been called back
the lifejacket is a pyre as it
catches the sun
and begins to be lifted up on
to the rising voice of the sea,
the retreating bodies of water
wavering in their flowing robes.


[Daragh Breen currently lives in West Cork. His latest collection, Nostoc, was published by Shearsman Books in January 2020. His previous collection, What the Wolf Heard, was published by Shearsman Books in 2016. Prior to that, November Press published Whale in 2010 and Across the Sound: Shards from the History of an Island in 2003. His poetry has appeared extensively in Irish literary journals, and more recently in UK journals such as Blackbox Manifold, Tears in the Fence, Long Poem Magazine and The Fortnightly Review.]

Copyright © 2020 by Daragh Breen, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.