Medbh McGuckian’s adjectives are words we know, or thought we knew. “It was a fragrant December,” when survival of planetary life depends on bees. Medbh might say things differently in Lenten February. “A grey trembling flame left the ceilings/ in profound darkness,” could be going out. “A skintight coat of mail,” sounds impossible before we notice her “coat” is the overcoming of desire. An artist paints a “night-scene, marked by his opalescent touch.” She knows how it is being a poet, “brave in the next-to-nothing of a line.” Writes of “the churchish skyline,” which isn’t even a word, until now.