International Women’s Day 2013, poems for Malala Yousafzai

Poem for Malala

To Malala Yousafzai.

We see it all.
All of it.

The red-stain,
the shame.

We do not feel the skull-shatter-impact,
the moveable plate – the tube,

the tubes.
The blood-bags.
The bags of blood,
the urine.

Your eye,
the eye-blood
that occludes your vision.

Red filters down,
lowering them to the ground.
Our hackles are raised.

Father – Mother
Daughter – Son
Sister – Brother
Niece – Child

Child child child child child.

Somethings are veiled.
It is necessary to veil
what is sometimes a wound,

to cover
to dignify
to protect.

A green veil.
A beaded veil,

the tip of
an eyebrow raises it -
Disturbs it,
for the breath of.

I would sew the sequins myself,
make good the golden threads.

If you must veil,
let it crown you,
let it crown your head,

as laurels, green, on your head.

malala (2)For Malala is © C. Murray, published along with 200 poems protesting the shooting of 14 year old Malala Yousafzai. Time to say No ! is published by Pen Club Austria. With sincere thanks to both Helmuth Niederle and Philo Ikonya for producing this ebook. 

A New Ulster

A New Ulster Poetry and Literary Ezine

issue VI , A New Ulster

What distinguishes A New Ulster as poetry journal is evident also in Bone Orchard Poetry and in other Ezines that are led by artists and writers who respond with alacrity to a need for publishing platforms for new and established writers. When I started this blog  five years ago, I did a yearly review of what is offered to the poetic writer in the way of publishing platforms. The developing commitment of literary editors to the usage of online tools, such as Ezines, BlogZines, online-publication, and traditional publication was at an exciting point.  Jacket2, Harriet the Blog (The Poetry Foundation) and Poetry Ireland were busily adapting to and testing the poetic waters, as was UBUWEB . Editors have been using social-media tools to ensure that poetry is read, I find it strange that there appears to be an inherent distrust of the medium in some quarters here in Ireland. Under-utilisation of open-source systems and social-media strikes me as ungenerous.

The years began providing exciting new magazines and platforms and an increase in poetic-writing is showing itself in publications like Burning Bush 2, And Other Poems, Anon Publications Bare Hands and Southword, to name a few. The other side of the coin is how traditional publications are adapting to internet and using social-media to advance poetic-writers and audience. It may have been bold to claim a poetic-renaissance but I am sticking to it.

A New Ulster a publishing platform led by Amos Gideon Grieg and Arizahn, is that wonderful poetic-hybrid of traditional and internet publication that uses a wide variety of social-media platforms to generate audience and writer alike. Because the publication is writer-led, the editors bring in their skills as poet and fiction-writer, and their (hopefully not exhausted enthusiasm) for new forms and methodologies of communicating  literature with their readers. 

Poets featuring in a New Ulster include :

  • Issue  1Judith Thurley, Micheal Mc Aloran, Colin Dardis, Csilla Toldy, Cliff Wedgbury and J. S. Watts
  • Issue 2 Micheal Mc Aloran, Alistair Graham, Heller Levinson, Inso, Jogn Liddy, Geraldine O’Kane, Aine MacAodha, Brian Adlai, J. S. Watts, Peter Pegnall and Peter Fahy.
  • Issue 3:  David McClean, Neil Ellman, Angela Topping,  Nancy Ann Miller, Christopher Barnes, Stella Burton and more.
  • Issue 4 , added as link
  • Homepage of a New Ulster
  • Aine McAodha on Poethead

Dorothy L. Sayers’ translation of ‘The Divine Comedy’

Herein follows an incomplete list of book-links related to Dorothy L. Sayers’ translation of  The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.

Readers of the poethead blog will note that I dedicate Saturday mornings to the work of women writers, editors and translators. The translation of The Divine Comedy undertaken by  Dorothy L. Sayers  was completed in part by Barbara Reynolds.

Dorothy L. Sayers considered her translation of The Commedia to be her most important work,  and yet only one copy of the book was available through the Dublin Library Service last week. The Guardian Newspaper devoted just a single line to the fact that this work of translation was undertaken by Sayers. In the same instance both The Guardian and the Dublin library service suffer a surfeit of Sayers’ genre or detective stories.

The Divine Comedy translated by Dorothy L. Sayers ( some useful links)

Bibliography for Barbara Reynolds (Wikipedia)

Alegorical portrait of Dante, Agnolo Bronzino, c. 1530 The book he holds is a copy of the Divine Comedy, open to Canto XXV of the Paradiso.
Allegorical portrait of Dante, Agnolo Bronzino, c. 1530 The book he holds is a copy of the Divine Comedy, open to Canto XXV of the Paradiso.

Dorothy L. Sayers produced a classic translation of Dante’s Hell and Purgatorio which is still read. The problem with media and literary journals not citing Sayers or Glasscoeappears to be based in an institutionalised sexism which is a contributory factor in the invisibility of women editors. Evidently, The Guardian Newspaper and the Dublin library service give more attention to Sayers’ genre works than they do to her translation and other works.

It does not seem to pose great difficulty for male editors and writers to consistently cite what they feel are the definitive texts when the writer happens to be a dude. I believe that women editors and writers must begin to cite the works of women when quoting classical works of literature. If nothing else it may help those women journalists who seem incapable of taking women’s literature seriously.

Note : Recent attacks on Dante’s Commedia delineated  in this article show a lack of critical discernment and appreciation by those who would chose what anyone may read.

Some related texts

Further Papers on Dante

The Lost Tools of Learning

Are Women Human ?

A.N Wilson Dante in Love

The Burning Bush Revival Meeting is online

The Burning Bush 2 went online this very week, and there is a little poem in it by myself written in Barcelona. Even a  short holiday makes me miss the winds and lakes in Ireland! I am adding here the link to the Burning Bush landing page, along with a list of poets therein, and a copy of my poem too. I have also added a link to the TBB2 site in the Poethead blogroll  beneath this post.

Background to the TBB2 (Revival)

“For those who might not know, the original Burning Bush was published from 1999 to 2004 in Galway, Ireland. It was edited by the poets Michael S. Begnal and Kevin Higgins (until 2000 when Higgins left and Begnal became the sole editor). There’s a piece here on Mike’s blog which gives the background and history of the original magazine. I’m pleased to report that, fittingly, Kevin and Mike have both contributed to The Burning Bush 2. They are among a number of past contributors to the Burning Bush included in these virtual pages.” ( by Alan Jude Moore , editorial issue 1)

The Poets in issue #1 of Burning Bush Revival

“As we mentioned in an earlier post, in the first issue we wanted to include as many poets as we could who had published in the original Burning Bush. Several former contributors answered the call, including Kevin Higgins, Patrick Chapman, Todd Swift, JT Menesini and Nuala Ní Chonchúir.” (by Alan Jude Moore)  Here’s the complete list of poets in the first issue of Burning Bush Revival. There is also a Facebook appreciation and info page available at this link.

About  the poem,  and her yellow music caught in the throat of birds

I wrote a small poem in Barcelona which is there at the very end of the poets’ list. I lately again found the notebooks where I had initially written the Irish version (in an old craftsman’s handbook, which I had tied with elastic at the time). The poem and two others were filed in a folder relating to a set of images I had been working on called Archivum. The folder was in a small group of other folders that I had been meaning to search through, and last week just after the funeral of a dear friend I recovered them while looking for his letters. I wrote it in bad Irish and thought it better to send a translation instead. (luckily)

The full list of poets in the Burning Bush 2 Revival Online Meeting 

Michael S. Begnal, Kevin Higgins , Maurice Scully,  John Thomas Menesini ,  Patrick Chapman,  Nuala Ní Chonchúir,  Keith Gaustad, David Wheatley,  David Stone, John W. Sexton , Todd Swift , Emily Cullen , Dave Lordan ,  Paul Perry, Annemarie Ní Chuireann, John MacKenna , Stephanie Conn,  Gerard Smyth Shannon ,  Ward Miceál Kearney, Sarah Maria Griffin,  Jean Kavanagh ,  Peadar O’Donoghue , Kerrie O’Brien ,JP Dancing Bear,  Gerard Beirne , C. Murray

The Burning Bush 2 can be found at this internet address.

Secret waters, by Eva Gore-Booth.

Secret Waters


“Lo, in my soul there lies a hidden lake,
High in the mountains, fed by rain and snow,
The sudden thundering avalanche divine,
And the bright waters’ everlasting flow,
Far from the highways’ dusty glare and heat.
Dearer it is and holier, for Christ’s sake,
Than his own windy lake in Palestine,
For there the little boats put out to sea
Without him, and no fisher hears his call,
Yea, on the desolate shores of Galilee
No man again shall see his shadow fall.
Yet here the very voice of the one Light
Haunts with sharp ecstasy each little wind
That stirs still waters on a moonlit night,
And sings through high trees growing in the mind,
And makes a gentle rustling in the wheat. . . .
Yea, in the white dawn on this happy shore,
With the lake water washing at his feet,
He stands alive and radiant evermore,
Whose presence makes the very East wind kind,
And turns to heaven the soul’s green-lit retreat.”

by Eva Gore Booth.

( also published the OSG ‘The Whores will be busy’ poem elsewhere, and they were….)