‘Popping Candy’ and other poems by Sarah O’Connor

Poemín

 
This poem
Will be
Exquisitely short
 
And
 
Dinkily dedicated
To you.
 

Popularity, Personified

 
Smugness was her scarf,
Inked pinkly, cerisely,
She stroked it smugly.
Smugness was her scarf.
 
Idleness was her chignon,
Gleaming, burnished, shiny
She fondled it idly.
Idleness was her chignon.
 
Cuteness was her weapon,
Trigger fingered, ready,
She cocked it cutely.
Cuteness was her weapon.
 
Blandness was her boyfriend,
Broad-shouldered, dreamy,
She loved blandly.
Blandness was her boyfriend.
 

For Heaney

 
The sorrow’s mine and yours.
It’s all of ours. We shake our heads.
Now, when we want words,
We will rifle and riffle
Through pages printed.
We will thumb-skim his volumes.
We will become accustomed,
And forget to mourn, as we do today,
For his bits of the world welded to
Bits of the meaning of the world.
With those new silvered weldings,
Hand-soldered together by him,
Scudding from him to us.
We will miss his missiles of insight.
 

Tír na nÓg

 
I saw Tír na nÓg
For the first time
Yesterday.
 
From the car, while driving
On the M8, before Thurles.
 
All the plants,
All the trees faced it,
Pulled to it.
 
I felt the pull myself.
The draw.
 
And the island?
A mossy green copse,
Saturated in spring green.
 
On this bright day,
A wisp of mist hung
 
There. Around.
The rounded island
Otherworldly.
 
Ah, the longing.
The longing for it lingers.
 

Offering

 
I would bring you white roses
And mysterious irises
And open sunflowers
If they would let me
 
I would bring you sweet port wine
And hoppy beers
And tiny dry Champagne bubbles
If they would let me
 
I would bring you blissful heat
And cooling showers
And misty hovering bridge fog
If they would let me
 
I would bring you woven blankets
And intriguing ceramics
And all the treasures of this New World
If they would let me
 
But they won’t let me
And I just can’t choose
The best offering for you
So my lines will have to suffice.
 
Please let my lines suffice.
 

Popping Candy

 
Your company is
Like popping candy
Fizzing in my head.
 
Your company is
Like deft acupuncture
Painlessly needling me.
 
You say something
So unexpectedly funny
That I almost snort.
 
How long does
Popping candy last?
Does anyone know?
 
Popping Candy and other poems published here are © Sarah O’Connor.

IMG_4751Sarah O’Connor is originally from Tipperary. She studied in UCC and Boston College, and she now lives in Dublin. She previously worked in publishing and now works in politics. She is 34. She is working on her first novel and on a collection of poetry. She has been published by Wordlegs and The Weary Blues.
 
Sarah O’Connor blogs at The Ghost Station & tweets at @theghoststation.
‘Popping Candy’ and other poems by Sarah O’Connor

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.

 

 


 

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

Mary Cecil’s Rathlin Island poems

Adagio for Strings

 
My heart that soared and climbed
To other realms of fantasy
That longs to find the answers
To everything
 
To dream those endless dreams
To drift in waves of oceans
Of oneness complete
And really know
 
In pools of beautiful thought
Transport my soul
Where heaven will be
And let me be
 
© Mary Cecil
 

The Golden Hare

 
Where wild flowers cling
And heather sweetly grows
The magic hare reclines
With fur of glowing gold
 
His spirit of quiet magnificence
In lands of legends born
Where unicorns are dreamt of
And fairies sport in human form
 
To catch a fleeting glimpse
Against the burning sky
A moment in a lifetime
A flash of mystery goes by
 
Where came his golden sheen
That gift from other realms
To add a glowing wonder
Hidden in the ferns
 
So swift he flees
With graceful lops he leaps
Transporting us to mystical lands
To dream of when we sleep
 
© Mary Cecil
Rathlin Island
.

 

Written for Master Daire James Mc Faul of Rathlin Island

 
so wild the seas that flow,
Around his island home
Gently slept a baby,
Waiting to be born
 
Dreaming in his world,
Where perfection waits to be
A Raghery boy is made,
To cross the wildest sea
 
Generations of hardy men,
Created in his bones
A harmony of oceans,
With men from island homes
 
So sleep and dream your days,
The tides will wait for you
To carry you ever onwards,
Towards your faithful crew
 
And you will lay your anchor,
As generations before
Where your footsteps lead you,
Beside the beckoning shore
 
8th December 2014
© Mary Cecil
 

Mystic Days

 
I see you, a shadow in my mind,
Like a half remembered dream,
Drifting in the periphery
Of my consciousness
 
I glimpse you in the sunlight,
Like a song floating in the air
That cannot be captured,
Yet so sweetly enraptures me
 
My mind hesitates,
To escape the illusion of you
Your un-summoned presence,
That embraces my heart
 
Until again you vanish,
Like petals in the wind
The turbulence in your wake,
Tearing the tranquillity of my reverie
 
Yet stay my sweet
In my loving longings,
That we again can be,
In our world together
 
© Mary Cecil
.

profile for poetry picMary 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 andmanaging 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

‘leave this death alone’ by Candi V. Auchterlonie

purple blue thistle

 
ghosts/ghosting mouths
they’re pulling purple blue thistle/our heads
prickle their grey thumbs.
the un-holdable bouquet/clamped
with their veil of see through teeth
blood is not blood it is
a shadow veining the natural light
that our eyes fail to adjust to
and our glossy mouths fail to lipsynch
the weeded purply hill
when we speak between that strained speech
 
purple blue thistle is © Candi V. Auchterlonie
 

lookers stone

looking glass/under glass eye stares they become lazy moons/but try to catch these petaled fliers with your hands,
just try, they’re slippery mints tonguing fate.
my house is plagued with the secret of mint moths and they’ve begun to eat the hearts out from all of my best coats.
 
lookers stone is © Candi V. Auchterlonie
 

tearing cotton from your breast

poems from grand static/stasis that hurts with its stained whiteness.
 
tearing cotton from your breast is © Candi V. Auchterlonie
 

the flood of man

 
the tall-tall creek/creeps into your backyard.
your very own backyard/and you flood
a river into the wild
your things/they trickle out of your life
the things you always meant to keep.
 
the flood of man is © Candi V. Auchterlonie
 

the long drive

you will always have
the right of way.
 
the long drive is © Candi V. Auchterlonie
 

into the day we dream/into the night we work

 
spines are bridges
for tomorrow
we hold every hope up
to the jagged shadows of our bindings
each and each colourless moth
of us dissolves within the window pane of day/flirting death
only separate as wings are.
we hold every hope/we might chance/ideas of forever
and stay with them.
 
into the day we dream/into the night we work is © Candi V. Auchterlonie


The above poems are from Candi V. Auchterlonie’s forthcoming collection , leave this death alone. I am linking here her previous collection , Impress  (Published by Punk Hostage Press, 2012)

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Impress
Candi’s Homepage
‘leave this death alone’ by Candi V. Auchterlonie

‘Swallows’ and other poems by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

Swallows

The knitting needles
drew melodies from silence
as stitches seemed to follow
one another like swallows
alighting upon a wire,
watching the tiny dress
of softest yellow wool
grow like a sunrise
waiting for she
who waited within.

She, who came
and left
all too soon.

Stretched and stitched,
I lie empty, raw, alone
In the cold corridor of the hospital
grey knot of my mind
grasping blindly for meaning
I hold the soft brightness to my cheek,
then unravel the stitches
one
by
one

Swallows of hope
disappearing at sunset
to some unfathomable,
faraway land.

My grief grows, like wound wool.
Dull. Full.

Swallows is © Doireann Ní Ghríofa
 

Recovery Room, Maternity Ward

(for Savita Halappanavar)
 

The procedure complete,
I awaken
alone, weak beneath starched sheets.
As the hospital sleeps, my fingers fumble
over the sutured scar, a jagged map
of mourning stitched into my skin —
empty without and empty within.
Beyond these white curtains,
stars shine bright as Diwali
in a cold night sky.
Someday, within these walls,
I will hear my baby cry.
Cradling my hollowed womb,
I trace this new wound and weep.
The only sound I hear now is the fading retreat
of a doctor’s footsteps, echoing my heartbeat.

Recovery Room, Maternity Ward is © Doireann Ní Ghríofa
 

Rusted Relic

Drifts of dust muffle the old typewriter’s surface
each dead key is encrusted with rust—
a forgotten Gaelic font
of blurred syllables and bygone symbols.
Muted music. Smothered percussion.

 Rusted Relic is  © Doireann Ní Ghríofa

doireannDoireann Ní Ghríofa’s poems have appeared in literary journals in Ireland and internationally. Her Irish language collections Résheoid and Dúlasair are both published by Coiscéim. The Arts Council of Ireland has twice awarded her literature bursaries (2011 and 2013). In 2012, she was a winner of Wigtown Gaelic poetry contest— the Scottish National Poetry Prize. Her short collection of poems in English Ouroboros was recently longlisted for The Venture Award (UK).

‘Swallows’ and other poems by Doireann Ní Ghríofa