“Passing through” and other poems by Betty Thompson

Balloons A stream of them - long and ribboning before they were inflated; breath-filled they turned into globes and cylinders: fat demi-lunes ably shaped by the long-fingered magician who, in his downtime offstage from the Hippodrome, relaxing by the fire, legs stretched across the hearth, would plunge those long hands into his pockets, to pull [...]

“Time” by Fidel Hogan Walsh and Julie Corcoran

2020, Memories Blinded in a winter’s dread no prophet foresaw. Spring’s new life erupted into a chaos of fear. Desolation replaced the warmth of a hug. Children banished from our everyday lives! Ahh, the blessings — a swift journey home to the unexpected happiness under one roof. Chatter, laughter — a family enduring dark days [...]

Poems from ‘Massacre of the Birds’ by Mary O’Donnell

Mary O'Donnell reads from Massacre of the Birds - 2 from Conor O'Hagan on Vimeo. Against the Vanishing Hollywood Lake, Co Monaghan 1.On the lakeshoreof conscience I stand.God help me. Certain that in Argentina,a woman also stands,nature-struck. My unknown companionwill recognise waterfowl,marvel at grebes, flamingos, as I too greet the ducksand moorhensof this drumlin lake. [...]

Poems from ‘Alchemy’ by Fiona Perry

Postpartum You are as naked as a shucked oysterso, my breasts are slashed and raining pearlsfor you, my suckling child. The universehas too many doors. A terrifying flowerunfurled overnight to tell me if they tookyou away or carted you off to dielike pink tender veal. I would be preparedto stand on my own mother’s shouldersto [...]

Poems from “Venus in Pink Marble” by Gaynor Kane

  Window weather The Icelanders have a word that means just that.A murky day that you know is betterenjoyed from the comfort of a window seat;soft mizzle cleansing leaves shiny and bright. When webs become crystal dreamcatchers,or perfect drops form on the telephone linesand slide slowly down like the oilon the wire of the indoor [...]

Gold Friend by Chris Murray: the title is often the last piece of the jigsaw (Irish Times)

Gold Friend by Chris Murray: the title is often the last piece of the jigsaw (Irish Times)

This is an excerpt from a reflection on Gold Friend published online in the Irish Times (16/09/2020). Thanks very much to Martin Doyle who offered me the space to write about the book and about Poethead. ...The convergence of influence and imagery that is inherent in Gold Friend began at Drimnagh Castle and works from [...]

Poems from “Some Lives” by Leeanne Quinn

Poems from “Some Lives” by Leeanne Quinn

Cave of the Firbolg  (Nano Reid, oil on board) Not even a trespass of sky to compromise the dark  where blood beats in the body of the heart.  Nobody thinks, Why do we do this?  The nervous system ferries its thin shards of glass  down among the clay, where the blunt flint of the soul [...]

“Womanhood” and other poems by Amara George Parker

womanhood womanhood did not sneak up on me when my thighs were stained with first blood that arrived so unexpected so connecting it didn’t happen when hormones sprouted lumps and bumps that others stared at and touched it was not given to me nor did I grab it in the first instance of fucking or [...]

“When the angel came to me” and other poems by Danielle Galligan

When the angel came to me ‘The Virgin…’ He smirked, then ‘Virginity is a complex concept, pet’ I said. ‘I’ve been sent by God; He has a job–’ ‘So I’ve heard, you’ve got the wrong girl.’ Then, he grabs my wrist, ‘I must insist.’ Kisses my knuckle, twisted fuck. I imagine it going through his [...]

‘Stormriver’ and other poems by Myra Vennard



Along the river bank
street lights are lighting
the darkening waters glow
the sun is low
the mountain crouches low
in shadow
light drops from light
dark creeps back to night …
my mind struggles with a paradox –
gleams from a self-source
and light
falling from a star
love is racked – there
is no owning in the soul
the void is an agitation
fixed habit of a consciousness
unwilling to go into the terror
of going into light of naked night
my tree reaches up winter bare
its star is not yet born.


Sea fog curls
around the cliff face
the island has no contour
still – and I
I am weeping
amid a conflict
the wish for forgetfulness
yet fear of clinging sorrow
intangible dreams are real
a beatitude…

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“Safer Distances” and other poems by Jennifer Horgan

If you were able you’d go upstairs with me. Dream your hips poised mum jug-like dipped towards the sun. In some afternoon’s shuttered light we’re choosing fabrics to be hung. Your style, your certainty, tugs the rope of a French church bell. You’re young again, words held on winding steps in France. In this dream [...]

“Lost” and other poems by Olivia McGill

Anatomy of Love Your hands quiver along the dead roses of the embossed armchair, its towering sides, pillars to the underworld. You spend your days here, an old spectator of trawlers and rust, spilt oil and empty stomachs, pilothouse lights shine miniature homesteads on concrete. I was the first child to soften your world, your [...]

Recent Additions to The Fired! Archive at RASCAL (QUB)

The RASCAL database at Queen's University, Belfast, has hosted Fired! Irish Poets since early February 2019.  Fired! Irish Poets  was established in the summer of 2017 to address issues of marginalisation and the neglect of Irish women poets in both the contemporary and historical Irish poetry canon. Recent additions to the database include Eavan Boland [...]

“Birthday” and other poems by Kimberly Reyes

  Drink Before the War The bells of St. Fin Barre, off again Five faint chimes and warring finches 2:41am birdsongs sculpt slim air Rollers, tits, a fidgeting pigeon Crashes on a glass ceiling Neck feathers bobbing, weaving warning: No one with roots doubled under Can survive these days I tried          [...]

“Threads” and other poems by Sara Mullen

  Threads Not long ago we were wearing our neighbourhood’s pass-along clothes. Dirndl skirts, duffel coats, old dungarees did the rounds of our townland. Two hills away, fourth or so cousins broke in new blouses and pinafores. Their jumpers next on the boys up the road; mine for a time the following year. A spell [...]

‘Ludus’ and other poems by Roula-Maria Dib

Ludus or “A Thousand Poems” You’ve written a thousand poems for me, my friend --in your sapio-sudsy head… in a world as real as this one, where the ebb and flow of its soapy tides, brush off and on that murky shore— where all that can’t but is, all that shouldn’t but will, and all [...]

Un incontro / An encounter and other poems by Viviana Fiorentino, translated by Maria McManus

Poet's Note These poems that I submitted are a part of my experience as a volunteer in an immigrant detention centre in Northern Ireland. They were written in Italian and translated into English by the poet Maria McManus. The English language versions appear beneath the poems.                    [...]

“The shame of our island” and other poems by Siobhán Campbell

The shame of our island is that we killed the wolf. Not just the last but the two before that. I knew a man who met a man who was the cousin removed of the great-grandson of the man who killed the third-last wolf on the island. Slit it he did, to see the steaming [...]

“Clutch” and other poems by JLM Morton

Hex without her, his gut is like a hag stone at high water craving for the sea   Voyeur For weeks I pass the affair, on the turn from common tarmac to unclassified track, where shorthorns lap at the galvanised trough, gliders rise on the ivied beech. A people carrier parks in the lay-by limestone [...]

“In A Southern City” and other poems by Margarita Serafimova

Brilliantly dark, beak shining golden in the noon — an ornament of an Egyptian god, the Eleonora falcon in flight is manifesting above the incandescently brown island what it means to be a prince in whom time is.   That Which Is Coming Is Unknown On a dark September dawn, in my head, I was [...]

“Beochaoineadh Máthar Maoise” and other poems by Ellen Nic Thomás

Beochaoineadh Máthar Maoise A dhílleachta linbh gan ainm, gan athair, Do chraiceann ar aondath le humha an nathair, A lúbann timpeall do thaobhán uiríseal, Mar bhata ceannródaí is sníomhanna sisil. Is trua liom ciseán do dhóchas a fhíochán, Do dhán a chaitheamh i bpoll an duibheagáin, D’eiseadh a chruthú ar bhunús baill séire, ‘Nois tá [...]

‘a song to rest the tired dead’ and other poems by Raine Geoghegan, MA

Romanichals in the 1950’s (i) covels packed chavies scrubbed clean me rackley’s bal washed with panni the grai grizhomed holled (ii) opre and gel on dikk the next atchin tan a fellow chal pookers kushti bokt Romani words: Romanichals – English Romanies; Covels – belongings; Chavies – children; rackley’s – girls; Grai – horses; Grizhomed [...]

‘A Glass of Tea, a View of the Atlas’ by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Trade An assortment of crooked and straight arrows for the crest of a bulbul or a handful of sesame Uncut turquoise for juices of scorpions and glow worms A dozen poisons for an embroidered collar/ a pinch of saffron/ abalone knob Spotted eggs for knotted shoes Peacock feathers for beet sugar How much fur will [...]

‘A Meeting With Myself’ and other poems by Wasekera C. Banda

  Vulnerability Raise the fallen, walk over them. Fear the consequences of a kind action, undermine the impact of a bad deed. Maybe there's more to life, maybe there isn't. Fight the oppressor, break the chains. Remain slaves? These haunting memories, these hopeless days, These hopeful dreams. Light a candle, say a prayer. Doubt! Close [...]

‘Fire relies on the leaves of gum trees’ and other poems by Dominique Hecq

Hushed   Light pours down the unrelenting sky to earth ribbed and ridged with the tough stroke of Drysdale’s brush I track down words for hues and shades in books envy the skill of artist-explorers who forged new ways of seeing The cries of crows fall Through blues onto rusty ochres pulsing with raven dust [...]

‘Sugar’ and other poems by Müesser Yeniay

Love I have another body outside of me they call it love [but this is pain] if I had carried you in my body only then I would have felt your existence this much State My heart melts when I think of you the eyes aren’t satisfied with seeing neither are the lips with kissing [...]

“Lilacs From the Field of Mars” and other poems by Maureen Boyle

Darshan   (Hindi: the pleasure of looking)   In my favourite of your Indian stories you are working in your room in the garden ashram: the air is heavy with mangoes and dung the cows in the gowshala sing the saffron cloths of the swami flap like prayer flags on the line.   You are [...]

‘modern art’ and other poems by Anamaría Crowe Serrano

the stress clinic it’s ok no one need know only negligible impending threat i’m going to leave you let healing happen i’m turning left into the coffee shop it’s easy like this one step one more comforting to sit even on seats slashed by spooks i can wait learn patience is learnt on the edge [...]

“Ceathrúintí Mháire Ní Ógáin” and “A fhir dar fhulaingeas” by Máire Mhac an tSaoi

Máire Mhac an tSaoi poetry Original Irish versions followed by English translations . Ceathrúintí Mháire Ní Ógáin I Ach a mbead gafa as an líon so – Is nár lige Dia gur fada san – B’fhéidir go bhfónfaidh cuimhneamh Ar a bhfuaireas de shuaimhneas id bhaclainn Nuair a bheidh arm o chumas guíochtaint, Comaoine is [...]

Vinca Haiku by Virginie Colline

Vinca Haiku she grazes her scar old blood the color of rust on her maiden lace charcoal and red smudge nothing can make up the pain the dark trudge quickens tiny wallflower you cannot hold a candle you, periwinkle   The Spanish Girl Haiku she follows the clouds the breath of the summer wind gently [...]

“I don’t belong here’ by Fizza Abbas

I don’t belong here I love chipped crayons, they tell me colours can come in different forms: pitch-black darkness can become the reincarnation of red, moonlight can subdue the proud ribbon-like body of the river, wise men need not have a white beard. I often whisper to the wavelength, ask her to, once, and for [...]

‘Imprint’ by C. Murray

  Amber her halls— by the periphery trees open out sky's lungs. There are small birds below, they sing her boundaries: clay and Blue– this living thing. I touch her skin, it strikes White heart -wood blood runs white with light. She tells her tale, Silver beech, a wren– © C. Murray 2020 Read A [...]