All posts filed under: Contemporary Irish Women Poets

‘sunday DARTS and my phone’s dead’ and other poems by Alicia Byrne Keane

sassy ghost sometimes I’m startled by how perfectly my boots land when I take them off in poses too outrageous to plan like a dandy has strode into the room and is posturing, invisible, in my boots i can’t draw shoes it makes me restless (the art room of my school with its swelling cabin roof like an overturned ship, the teacher played the bon iver album with skinny love on it on repeat all the time the song makes me sleepy and cold)   i can’t draw shoes, when i try they look like puddles or ghosts everything about them less certain on inspection the soles worn in places so the line will look uneven on the page (the fear that no-one would know you were accurately capturing the wobbly bits)   When we came out that morning everything was covered in ice We talked about so much stuff that I can’t remember Any of it really, just that I was nervous in a good way And that we slept surrounded by paintings You’d …

Poems from ‘Available Light’ by Maria McManus

from ‘Émigrés’   3.   What is going on in your heart?   Prisoners of war live here   Throw off your gaudy vestments, spring’s best and brightest fig and let me see you naked and then, more naked still —   Put your heart in my hearts cavity. Slip it in.   Bring your worry beads if needs be. It’s not too late to shred all documents of denunciation.   5.   Now we must hunt by ear and put our trust   in gossiping swallows, the hooded crows, the herring gulls,   the wryneck’s potent drum.   7. Between silences take notice of the imago of your stolen self. Sold back but at what price?   10. Collect wishbones, place them in charnel houses, quarter the ground to make sure and certain none are missing – these things bring a plan to grief.   11. The song-birds are drowning, the sea is now a cemetery. The song-birds are drowning, the sea is now a cemetery   14. Life’s comforts are honeycombed and treacherous, and …

“A Gradual Eden” and other poems by Audrey Molloy

A Gradual Eden After the lava had cooled, hardened like a carapace over the fresh-earth graves of our marriages, nothing happened for a while. Sure, you and I still talked all night, once dared to walk arm-in-arm like a real couple to the Vietnamese restaurant with the string-bead curtain and napkins folded into swans. I had to learn the basics: I only knew your every thought, but not, for instance, how you took your coffee, how you swam at five each day, leaving me to wake alone. Nothing grew on the hard-baked basalt of us. Ditches that had defined our highways vanished, once-shady trees now jutted like antlers where the lightning had struck. When the strawberries were gone we ate dandelion and fiddle-head ferns. You were an inventive chef, but I was sick of roots and leaves; I wanted Passiflora (or violets at the very least). Once, longing for old comforts, you peeked back under the edge of the rock-crust for a glimpse of green, but the lawns were mustard and thistle-pocked. Twice I peeked …

“Flaxen Sheaf” and other poems by Laura Scanlon

Flaxen Sheaf Softly winnowing, shifting neat Deftly yielding seed from sheath, Sifting cleft wheat from weed, Sweeping sleeves bereft of seed Wielding fleets of sickle o’er Nimbly threshing flaxen plant, Cloven seams unwoven—spent, Shafts of sheafs—swiftly rent The chaffing teeth, The shearing tooth, The shaven chaff, The grieving root.   The Echo The echo resonates— confirmation you are alone, Borne along with contractions are pitches and tone. Giving breath to life is labour— breath pregnant with sound, –collected in thought, –delivered with care, –spoken aloud. The birth of words weighty, born into new air profound, the echo will perish, the meaning resound.   Sentiment as Sediment Gloomy Tuesday sits thickly like a pot of glue, thick and almost solid, —almost set Old Monday like forgotten honey rests, —Separate, The dregs lay, Heavy at the bottom of the thick glass Tuesday, a blue day.   Flaxen Sheaf and other poems are © Laura Scanlon Laura Scanlon has recently just completed an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture at UCD. Her dissertation focused on social media and the …

Fragmenting…defragmenting… by Breda Wall Ryan

(i) Woman, Fragmenting Out of reach of Bach’s Rescue Remedy, she free-falls through 2, 1, G to the basement. Wifemask says she’s fine, hides behind her Prozac smile, offers cake and tea, nods and nods. Wearing her disguise, she lies While chemicals scramble signals, sparks refuse synaptic gaps, the machine malfunctions, cables snap, she swallows despair, takes what’s on offer for toxic sorrow, peels her skin down to the raw child at the core of her unhinged matryoshka. Things can only get worse if nobody Zolofts her back to the surface. She tries to grip the creature—is it she?— sinking through air, land, water, submerging, seabedding. (ii) Woman, Defragmenting She searches for handholds inside her head, climbs her hair through a blizzard on the north slope. Choking on terrors of high unguarded places, she fights the urge to step off into nothing, give in to gravity, plunge through the sea-skin, then fly, half-cormorant, down to oblivion’s seabed. Spiralling riptides draw her under, she rides an undertow down, down where dolphins drown, stars nail the lid …