JIM MAGUIRE studied Music and English at University College Dublin and after graduation worked for a number of years as a music journalist. His poems have been widely published in Ireland and the UK and won a number of prizes, including the Brendan Kennelly Award, the RTE/Rattlebag Poetry Slam, The Dromineer Poetry Prize and the inaugural Padraic Fallon Award. In 2010 he was runner-up in the Patrick Kavanagh Award and the recipient of a Bursary in Literature from the Arts Council.


For many years he lived in Korea, the setting for his collection of short fiction Quiet People: Korean Stories published in 2008. He works as an adult education tutor in Wexford town, where he lives with his wife, Ha-lim, and their two daughters.

Music Field


Then comes the bit he’s been practicing for years

but still can’t get his hands around.  The melody’s

giddy unwrapping above the distressed inner parts,

the bass-line an unimpressed patriarchal yawn.

So why the end-of-world hush that falls over the hall?

As if on the cyclorama Lady Lavery as Caitlín

has stepped out of the pound into a stony field

with its single windswept tree like a headscarf.

Is it the tree she’s trying to stare down or the boy

half-hidden behind in stiff breeches and spats,

outlandish get-up for a field, not to mention his hair

full of flowers – poppy, marigold, cyclamen –

a key in his head for each, all flat-majors and a minor

for the fuzzy horizon.  Two unrelated themes

in a field, slow-circling, waiting for the trouble to begin.