“Gorse Fire” and other poems by Myra Vennard

Gorse Fire

(The people is grass)
                              (from the Scriptures)

Above the ancient friary ruin —
wind blown — down
from the mountain  — smoke —
(no shrouding mist)
against a scorching sun.

Flames of fire
burst and run across the path
after my tardy footprint.

Was it the stinging leafy spine
that ignites the grass —
or the burning golden flower
that raised this holy place?




(In order to possess what you do not possess
you go by the way of dispossession)

                                                                   (T.S Eliot)

I like this day
when sea-mist challenges the sun

no distance

a boat in the bay
disappears into the island

the horizon is asleep

the passionate tree
reflects in river-flow

look inland

the last primrose is out of reach
high in the crevice of a rock

the hawthorn tree is red

soon — the golden Head
will not fail the Rose.


Night Bird

On certain winter afternoons
when storm drives the dark —
fear of night
engenders noise behind the eye
and deadens stillness in the spirit —

it is then I fix my mind
on a night-bird’s song — sweet
inner gleam — silver note of starlight —
imagination’s pathway
to the yearning heart of infinitude.  


Gorse Fire and other poems © Myra Vennard 2021



Myra Vennard (1929-2022) was born in Belfast and is now retired to Ballycastle, Co Antrim, where she has ancestral roots. Widowed in 1979, she worked in Belfast for several years as a secretary before returning to higher education in the 1990’s as a mature student, graduating at the University of Ulster with Honours BA in English and an MA in Anglo-Irish Literature with a dissertation on the poetic vision of Samuel Beckett. As a postgraduate she attended the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, gaining a diploma in Ecumenics.

Myra Vennard’s two previous poetry books are Easter Saturday (2009) and Blind Angel (2013), both published by Lagan Press. In 2010 she won the Belfast Telegraph’s Woman of the Year in the Arts Award. The Alabaster Box was published in 2020 by Caesura Press.


Stormriver and other poems by Myra Vennard.