All posts filed under: Poetry

‘I Saw Beckett The Other Day’ and other poems by Órfhlaith Foyle

Photograph of Her Brother’s Skull   They give you to me, a numbered skull from a high shelf and in my hand you are a strange brute thing – a thing I hardly see -my brother.   The clean smooth bone of you – the whole of you no longer with me. In this room of discovered skulls, I have lost my memories And the photographer fixes your dead stare for his lens.   In this room of skulls, Your face is lost, my brother, and I grips hard to what is left.   After Sunday Mass in Malawi   After Sunday Mass they whispered: ‘he was a poet, perhaps. A dissident, yes.’ He ignored the spies in his classroom.’ Then someone else also remembered: ‘Of course, this is not our country. We are Whites, you see   I Saw Beckett the Other Day   I saw Beckett the other day in the doorway of that café where you took his photograph.   You know the one… when he looked up at the lens and …

“Pomegranate” and other poems by Kim Myeong-sun translated by Sean Jido Ahn

Pomegranate In autumn, even a tree sheds jewels on the street. A deeply buried heart may be fetching like this. Around this time, A bird shall pilot the life of a fragrant tree, Crossing the river with a seed in its beak, Passing the field of silvergrass on a mountain. My shallow roots, Which were swayed by no more than rain and wind, Have you ever borne a piece of ruby hot as blood? Without a jewel to pass on to a bird or a wind, I pass in front of a pomegranate tree. Whether I love or hate, Life merely flows. Toward where is life—an initiation ceremony—leading to? The heart too red to believe in an afterlife, The heart pecked by the bird! A Will Joseon*, when I part from you, Whether you knock me down by a creek Or yank my blood in the field, Abuse me more, even my dead corpse. If this is still not enough, Then abuse her as much as you can When someone like me is born henceforth. …

“Pair Bond” and other poems by Barbara Smith

Gwion’s Birthday   Today I bought your birthday presents: what you wanted and what I wanted for you: new clothes and an Xbox game. Back across the stretch of thirteen years I reach for the time you nearly didn’t make it past your first: listless, sleeping on the sofa, an infection deep within your bronchioles, a third visit to the doctor for a letter to admit you, a sweating wait outside the room while they tried to insert a cannulae – twice – and put in a drip before your isolation on the fifth floor with a window-whistling view of the graveyard and our home beyond. It was two days before your hands reached up to mine.   The Angels’ Share (Doghouse Books, 2012) Achieving the Lotus Gait   In winter, the uphill path to Madame Xing’s is treacherous. I watch for loose stones among the grey brown gravel   and the birds are almost silent as each step quarries me, wincing on wooden pattens.   Madame unravels yards of stinking cotton from my feet …

‘Moving Like Anemones’ and other poems by Lorna Shaugnessy

Crystal   The blower adds breath to heat, turns and blows within the mould until he finds precise form. Molten glass vibrates. It takes ten years to learn how deep you can cut before the glass shatters, how deep you have to go to catch the light. Mistakes pile up waiting for the furnace, a second chance, instability anchored by the weight of lead.   Río Tinto   We cannot enter the Roman graveyard. The gates are padlocked and chained so we press our faces to the wire, squint at the skewed angles of mossed stones, the departed minions of enterprise and empire. Behind us the mines, where pulleys and sidings punctuate strata of centuries-old endeavour. Rock and mineral are bared in russets and ochres too raw for peopled places. Their cratered wounds fill with water so deep you could drown there. Today is Sunday. In the high, hushed absence of trucks to rumble up the hill we try to hear beneath the wind, listen for the sound of stone, touch the injured past, its …

“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 éiteacht Aifrinn, Cé déarfaidh ansan nach cuí dhom Ar ‘shonsa is arm o shon féin achaine? Ach comhairle idir dhá linn duit, Ná téir ródhílis in achrann, Mar go bhfuilimse meáite ar scaoileadh Pé cuibhreann a snaidhmfear eadrainn. II Beagbheann ar amhras daoine, Beagbheann ar chros na sagart, Ar gach ní ach bheith sínte Idir tú agus falla – Neamhshuim liom fuacht na hoíche, Neamhshuim liom scríb is fearthainn, Sa domhan cúng rúin teolaí seo Ná téann thar fhaobhar na leapan – Ar a bhfuil romhainn ní smaoinfeam, Ar a bhfuil déanta cheana, Linne an uain, a chroí istigh, Is mairfidh sí go maidin. III Achar bliana atáim Ag luí farat id chlúid, Deacair anois a rá Cad leis a …