Category Archives: Alphabets

‘I wanted to tell you, but there was no time’ and other poems by Csilla Toldy

Kitchen

 
With hot chilli in my eyes
I read between the lines,
a coded message of noises:
A child’s scream sheathed in wind blasts,
 
gashes through the cracks.
The mandalay porcelain clock, riveting,
ticks between my shoulder blades.
I carry my life like a snail.
 
The fridge sighs,
a boiler roars into motion,
it broils the oil of the seas and heats
– my place, the kitchen at dawn.
 
Clouds scrub the stratosphere with desert sand;
a mad dog, stuck in fear, just shrills.
The river at the bottom of our glen,
shushing its song, cushions our senses.
 
In my body’s kitchen
the heart spins unrelenting.
Organs send impulses talking to each other.
“Thanks for the parcel, we enjoyed the food.”
 
The universe of enzymes awakens,
matter is transformed, vibrations vocalise.
My body is gauze, from Gaza, letting through the particles
of light – staunch at covering the wounds, so absorbent.
 
Beyond its wonders I remember
last night’s cosmic dance at this table,
our conversation about intelligence and order
and that we are bacteria in God’s body.
 
First appeared in Red Roots-Orange Sky, Lapwing Publications, Belfast edited by Dennis Greig
 

Danube – Duel

 
Is that a boat or a coffin
bobbing up and down on the river
framed by the intricate lace of the parliament?
 
The country taught me hate
the tightness of place, sometimes echoed
when the gales gather and attack this island.
 
No escape, lie low, let the winds blow overhead,
wait, even if you are sitting on a hot spring
even if you fume vitriol.
 
Remembering the river’s bank
ragged lines of men and women, shot
after they were told to slip off their shoes.
 
Boney bare trees reach up into the sky
grab the pain – hanging on
pulling it down, draw it deep into the soil.
 
The Danube splits the land. From the crack
incredible amounts of fresh water, hot and clear
bubble up with the smell of rotten eggs.
 
Healing waters – they say –
good for the bones and joints,
the ailments that plague the core of the nation.
 
The Jews that never got buried
float away into the sky – in the spas soaking
people play chess in sulphuric silence.
 
First appeared on Poetry24 edited by Martin Hodges
 

I wanted to tell you, but there was no time

 
In my dream I had to take the key to your flat and leave it there
It was very hard to do
I had to balance on steep rocks and loosened iron hoops
In my thoughts I tousled your hair and something lifted me up
A force – and my stomach jumped into my throat.
I was laughing, for this was what I wanted.
Then it was over – (some new dream, new convolutions began about
a girl who dived into the awesome blue of the sea –
Cassandra – I was glad that she left me alone
Like a sunset, her blonde locks sunk into the sea)
 
I was thinking about symbols on my way to you near the southern railways
And my stomach was in my throat.
Arriving, I felt the usual little pain, you said I was beautiful
and I believed you. There was no doubt about it – I could love
You as it was good for me. We were standing at the glass panels
In front of us the space
I did not tousle your hair, there was no embrace, although desired
I left, I was in a street again and a force lifted me up –
the one that was leaving dragged me with itself.
I was a weak woman then, tiny and the struggle with my own power
Seemed ridiculous. I let it fall into the void.
 
First appeared in A New Ulster edited by Amos Greig

Broken – Winged

 
The first time I heard your voice on the line
defensively bored, I thought my pleading
rendered me powerless. But surprising:
It was the key to your poor, broken heart.
 
I admired the splinters: Twisted sky,
land, barbed wire manifold reflected,
Medusa eyes flash, piercing the sadness,
but whirls of winds carry us to new heights.
 
I believed in me being your healer –
making you whole a possibility.
Wanted to be the cohesive matter,
 
Superwoman with the magical torch,
blind to your pain’s artful prosperity –
to the cage of guilt and cunning reproach.
 
First appeared in Red Roots-Orange Sky, Lapwing Publications, Belfast edited by Dennis Greig
 

Photo by Alistair Livingstone

Photo by Alistair Livingstone

Csilla Toldy was born in Budapest. After a long odyssey in Europe she entered the UK with a writer’s visa to work on films and ended up living in Northern Ireland in 1998. Her prose appeared in Southword, Black Mountain Review and anthology, Fortnight, The Incubator Journal, Strictly Writing and Cutalongstory. Her poetry was published online and in print literary magazines, such as Snakeskin and Poetry24, Savitri, Lagan Online, Headstuff, Visible Verse, A New Ulster and in two chapbooks published by Lapwing Belfast: Red Roots – Orange Sky and The Emigrant Woman’s Tale. Csilla makes videopoems, available on her website:  www.csillatoldy.co.uk &  https://soundcloud.com/ctoldy

‘Cry Oceans’ by Mary Cecil

Cry Oceans

 
Cry oceans and weep the seas
Where waves flow over
The endless motions of life
The swimming perfection that flees
 
The Armageddon of destruction
By all means possible
The mechanisation of death
The beginning of the end
 
For whales and tuna to consume
The mercury to garnish
The insatiable greed to fill
The merciless plunderers
 
To crush and pulp for cattle
The wanton waste of the world
That flies in the face of God
And wilts in the sun
 
The lonely song of the whale
That echoes in silent reproach
The albatross that soars
Over oceans of emptiness
 
The flowering coral that dies
Blooming in acid
The hymn of death
Beneath blue heaven
 
© Mary Cecil, Rathlin Island
 
Written in protest to the mechanisation of fishing with super trawlers

Mary Cecil is the mother of large family and Grandmother to eleven. The widow of Rathlin Island’s famous campaigner, diver, author (Harsh winds of Rathlin) Thomas Cecil. Lover of Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland’s only inhabited island. Mary enjoys community development and current events. She has been writing poetry for several years. Enjoys writing a variety of poems, spiritual, war, romantic, protest and nature. Keen to compose more poems based on Rathlin Island’s myths & legends. She worked in owning and managing tourist facilities both on and off Rathlin Island. Public Appointment as Lay Member, The Appropriate Authority, Criminal Legal Aid Board .

Mary Cecil’s Rathlin Island poems

“The Dream Clock” and other visual poetry by Susan Connolly

Towards the Light  (1)_1

Winter Solstice at Dowth, 3pm (1)_1
One Hundred and Six Days (2)_1
One Hundred and Six Days (2)_2
FireShot Capture -  - https___dochub
Susan Connolly (2)Susan Connolly’s first collection of poetry For the Stranger was published by the Dedalus Press in 1993. She was awarded the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry in 2001. Her second collection Forest Music was published by Shearsman Books in 2009. Shearsman published her chapbook The Sun-Artist: a book of pattern poems in 2013. She lives in Drogheda, Co. Louth.FireShot Capture - The Sun-Artist cover_ - https___docs.google.com_document_d_1

‘Sea Scarf’ and other poems by Victoria Mosley

Shiny shine

 
Milk on the turn
midnight history muffles
owl’s cry: narcissus pulsing
through dull earth to release
birthday colour.
 
I’ve become muted: afraid
of the shine shine glitter
hidden here as time
brushes messages
on parched skin.
 
Pacing corridor
always waiting for
sun – skim star-burn
impatient of humdrum
yearning magnificence.
 
Milk on the turn
garden hovers to unfurl
blossom of spring: new joy
pulsates at the click click clunk
of the white sea gate.
 

Sea scarf

 
Sea a black scarf
wrapped around the harbour
it’s cold tonight, so cold
the wind is taut
& moon hangs silent
huge immobile willing.
 
Sea sends whispers
of how it should be
sailors ghosts ride high
their songs mixed with
mermaids breath
the slink of seal at rest.
 
Sea calls to me
I’m immune caught up
beach sweeps a canvas
of wind ,water ,longing
connection to every other,
footsteps follow I turn
 
sea is a black scarf
enfolding me.
 

Mute route

 
Deaf with night’s hollow whispers
silk shawl cast aside
bare flesh masking muslin pillow
love untying caution’s ribbon
 
as we let it slide
like young girl’s curls
masking asking faces.
 
You rest in oblivion
stroking candied women
delicate filigree phantoms
breathless in their brilliance
 
while I try to tame the tiger
hush the rush of sweetness
turn aside from logical explanations
 
see you as you want me to,
 
a summer sorbet
fresh with sun kissed satisfaction
that crisp wisp of magnificence
tipped to fly away:
 
& I plug these riptide words
the cries that raise me from my sleep
why’s and how’s dulled with ice cold wine
follow your unmapped route
 
to a mute and foreign destination
where nothing is given away
but time.
 

Walk with me (for my Dad)

 
Walk with me again
over sunlight speckled streams
through the tart nettles & the
sharp tooth brambles to the
smooth green sward of an upland field
where the sheep scatter crazily at our feet
& the cuckoo spits her tuneless song.
 
Walk with me once more
arm in arm through the breathless hordes
of the rush hour crowd,
to turn aside at an open bar, rest in silence
while the traffic roars & the ferryboat plies
her starlight trail, across the harbour.
 
Sit & hold my hand
round an open fire, just to tell me
how you are & why you’ve been
so far away when you promised me
you’d be here to stay. Why you left
in that awful rush with those bustling nurses
the sweat of the incense, the rich red mass.
 
Walk with me again
along our small curved shore
with the fishermen mending nets
the harvest moon blazing
turning to solitude, for there is only ”I”
& the essence of ”you”.
 
These poems are © Victoria Mosley

  • ICA standing (1)Victoria Mosley is a poet novelist and spoken word artist. She has four published poetry collections and nine published novels. She has run events and club nights in London and beyond, from the Groucho Club to the ICA, Austin Texas to Indonesia, from Jazz nights and Charity Events to new bands. She has worked for the British Council in Surabaya and in Canada, has produced and presented her own radio shows. She has worked as Artist in Residence in the Film and Media Studies Department at the School of Oriental and African Studies London University, and in the Astro Physics department of Imperial College where she taught her own courses on Creative Writing and Performance and wrote an MA option. She is presently concentrating on writing novels. She has written nine novels in the What if series now available on Kindle. Her debut novel, published by Quartet in 2011 Moonfisher is set in Second World War torn France and present day London, and is a story of the Maquis and the Special Operations Agency which sent British Spies into occupied France. (Published by Quartet on D day 2011) is available on Amazon.
    .
    Poems from her new collection Out of Context are published in small press magazines, in anthologies, by Forward Press and in online magazines such as Ronin Red Ceiling and http://www.thewolfpoetry.org. Poems are published internationally online from Australia to America she has a poetry following in fifty three countries and she also writes online articles. She has just completed a Heritage Lottery Funded project in Kent.
  • victoriamosley.com
  • Amazon Author Page
  •  www.thewolfpoetry.org.
  • All At Sea (Amazon)
  • Ultramarine (Amazon)

The Myth and Memory Of Eavan Boland’s Latest Poems by J P O’Malley

I do not often recommend newspaper articles on Irish poetry, but I am making an exception in the case of The Examiner’s review of Eavan Boland’s latest book New and Selected Poems Eavan Boland (Carcanet). J P O’Malley offers an extensive review, some illuminating video links, and a preview of his upcoming interview with Boland at The Boogaloo (London) in this article.

‘The heroic narrative that the founding fathers of the State attempted to make a universal truth is also something that Boland’s poetry has challenged consistently. Lest we forget, the birth of the Irish nationalist myth was forged initially through poetry, which unapologetically glorified violence ‘ (Examiner)

It was a similar situation in the visual arts where censorship was prevalent and the original blasphemy laws (we updated them again in 2010) were used to suppress arts, most notoriously the work of Charles Rouault. We can examine how publications were seized and often censored for crimes like obscenity. The fact that there existed before Boland an entire suppressed narrative, a body of literature by women poets, should not surprise us, although it continues to be forgotten and ignored even today. It would be incredibly naïve of the reader to assume that there existed a desert before Eavan Boland’s work flowered in the 1970’s. The women poets were there but they were ignored by the critical and academic establishment, immersed as they were in the imaginative creation of the state.

I  have added in a brief note on Emma Penney’s thesis at the base of this post which challenges the critical reception of Eavan Boland and the restrictive criteria, developed in the 1970’s, under which poetry by women in Ireland has been assessed. Boland alludes to the suppressed narrative throughout her writing career. We are the land of the suppressed poetic narrative afterall. I believe that some people would like to think that women probably did not write poetry much then, but that’s basically a cop-out based in critical laziness and cultural misogyny. The imaginative creation of ‘state’ seems a task left to the masculine poet and his apologetics professors and there are plenty of those.

“In the mid 1960s, when Boland started out as a writer, there was no place for women in the canon of Irish poetry. Moreover, the chances of making it as a poet seemed impossible when she moved to of Dundrum in south Dublin to raise a family. At the time, novelists like Richard Yates in the US were writing about the slow death of creativity in boring, bourgeois-suburbia.
 
But Boland understood that there are complexities in life worth documenting, if one has the sense to deconstruct them. “I was a woman in a house in the suburbs, married with two small children. It was a life lived by many women around me, but it was still not named in Irish poetry. From the beginning, I knew I would have to put the life I lived into the poems I wrote. If I didn’t I would end up writing someone else’s poem.” (Examiner)


Emma Penney, a graduate of the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College Dublin. Her thesis, Now I am a Tower of Darkness: A Critical History of Poetry by Women in Ireland, challenges the critical reception of Eavan Boland and the restrictive criteria, developed in the 1970’s, under which poetry by women in Ireland has been assessed. She considers the subversive nature of women’s poetry written between 1921 and 1950, and calls into question the critical assumption that Eavan Boland represents “the first serious attempt in Ireland to make a body of poems that arise out of the contemporary female consciousness”. In Object Lessons, Boland concluded that there were no women poets before her who communicated “an expressed poetic life” in their work. Emma’s thesis reveals how this view has permeated the critical landscape of women’s poetry, facilitating an absurd privation of the history of poetry by women in Ireland and simplifying it in the process.