Kevin McDermott

Kevin McDermott is a Dublin-based writer. He has published five YA novels and written for radio. His poems have appeared in a number of literary journals and have been broadcast on RTE.

In the Gardens of the Renaissance

The road to Bomarzo is pitted and pot-holed
And rattles our bones.

The Pleasure Gardens, too, confound us
With their maze of old pathways

And faded sculptures, coarsened
By wind and rain, and long neglect.

And yet the water features still function,
The ancient mechanicals producing their magic

All these centuries later.

We have come a long way to see them
And we take much pleasure in them.


At Villa Lante, I look down the long, trailing length
Of a serpentine fountain.

You are below me
By the serpent’s open mouth,

Your fingers touching the water,
The light catching your hair.

And I am a stranger, looking in amazement
At the woman who has coupled her life to mine.

Enamoured, I retreat into the shadows,
Breathe, fill my water bottle from a rusting tap,

Take time to take in my surroundings:
These gardens, this sky, this moment in the universe of things:

Your hand trailing water,
The light falling through trees.

And I give thanks to gods and architects,
To Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola,

To the mysteries of hydrodynamics
And ancient cogwheels.

I give thanks for your understanding of gravity,
Of feet planted on the steady earth.

I give thanks for the equilibrium of the soul,
And the machinery of the heart.

© 2020 Kevin McDermott