By Paddy Bushe

On A Turning Wing

Paddy Bushe’s latest collection of poems (due April 2016) explores, among other things, the balance between creative freedom and the artist’s responsibility to engage.

“The leading poet writing in both Irish and English”
– Bernard O’Donoghue


Paddy Bushe’s latest collection of poems opens with a stirring suite on music and art, seeing them not as rarefied experiences but as fundamental and nourishing encounters for both their makers and their audience. The distinction between here and elsewhere is blurred, and the playing of an Irish piper seems echoed by that of other musicians in far-flung parts where the poet’s enthusiasm for travel and hill-walking takes him.

The transition from such open, light-filled spaces to the more uncertain areas of Irish political life makes perfect sense in Bushe’s work, the poet’s freedom bringing with it a responsibility to engage. And Bushe’s defence of a local arts centre is lifted far above what might have been a parochial dispute into a passionate argument for access to the arts beyond favouritism or political interference.

On a Turning Wing contains some of Bushe’s finest sketches of the natural world, as well as touching lyrics on the birth of a grandchild and the joy and consolation of companionship and love.


for Ciairín, three months pregnant

The scissoring blades had come so close
That I almost sliced the nest and its three
Speckled blue eggs, suddenly and brutally
Exposed, balanced, on a few new shoots
Of the hedge I was cutting. And I thought
She would never return, that the nest
And eggs would shrivel away into a sad
Might have been. But less than an hour
Saw her brown tail again cocked over the nest,
Her yellow beak and accusing eye willing me
Not to betray her again, willing the wind
Not to capsize her world, willing the blades
To hold off awhile. And now a gale has come
And gone, and she is still sitting on the eggs,
And I am holding my breath day after day,
Willing her just a few more weeks of grace.

May 2013

Additional information

Dimensions 216 × 140 mm

Product Detail

  • ISBN: : 9781910251140
  • Size: : 140 x 216 mm
  • Pages: : 76
  • Published: : April 2016

About The Author


Paddy Bushe was born in Dublin in 1948 and now lives in Waterville, Co. Kerry. He writes in Irish and in English. His collections include Poems With Amergin (1989), Digging Towards The Light (1994), In Ainneoin na gCloch (2001), Hopkins on Skellig Michael (2001) and The Nitpicking of Cranes (2004). To Ring in Silence: New and Selected Poems was published in 2008. He edited the anthology Voices at the World’s Edge: Irish Poets on Skellig Michael (Dedalus, 2010). His latest collections are My Lord Buddha of Carraig Eanna (2012), On A Turning Wing (2016) and Móinéar an Chroí (2017). He received the 2006 Oireachtas prize for poetry, the 2006 Michael Hartnett Poetry Award and the 2017 Irish Times Poetry Now Award. He is a member of Aosdána. In 2020, Dedalus Press publishes Double Vision, a two-volume publication comprising Second Sight, the author's own selection of his Irish language poems, accompanied by the author's own translations, as well as Peripheral Vision, his latest collection in English. The Rolling Wave on RTÉ Radio 1 in Nov 2022 devoted an entire show to Paddy Bushe's poems and the tunes and songs they respond to: the show is available here.