“Wending” and other Poems by Allis Hamilton

Mrs. Piper

after Pied Piper of Hamelin
 
He came home with that wooden whistle
one blustery winter’s day.
 
Said he found it on the snow
at the crossroads of Hamelin and Coppenbrügge.
 
It was just lying there he said.
He learned to play it fast enough,
 
one could well say he was a natural.
But I got rather fed up with his playing here in the cave.
 
It bounced off the stonewalls and I could get no work done,
so I sent him out.
 
The first time my husband returned after a day out
with that whistle, it was flies that followed him.
 
All a-buzz in swarms like swallows on a summer’s eve.
Next it was the worms slithering along behind him
 
like one enormous python.
He used them to catch us plenty of fish.
 
When he brought home the rats,
that was quite something.
 
I smoked the meat from most of them;
we had a winter’s worth of food.
 
And I tanned their skins of course;
they made for wonderful shoe warmers.
 
But when he brought home all of those children,
that was something else altogether.
 
Published in The Australian Poetry Journal 2015 Issue 5 No. 1,
Edited by Michael Sharkey
 

The Fottie

 
Often we saw her walking the hushed hills,
making her way among sheep-worn heather.
Her feet shod in the skin of lambs – lambs
 
whose dead eyes knew the pecking beak of crow.
Always she was wrapped in her tan and green shawl,
her hair as wild as night.
 
She collected clutches of wool caught in clumps of hawthorn,
tangled in clusters of heather, blown by winds’ fierce breath
onto thistle-thorn. Sometimes digging roots with a broken antler
 
on the burn’s steep brae where the roe deer spar.
She gathered lichen long grown on granite rocks; picked
yellow flowers off gorse with small careful fingers,
 
placing them like stolen kisses into her apron pocket.
We villagers wondered what she did with her collection,
she, as shy as fox, as quiet as grass.
 
After we found her beautiful body beaten blue
by the bashing burn – washed up on the banks
from a tremendous storm – we discovered her craft.
 
She had woven exquisite colourful, detailed tapestries
that covered the walls of her crumbling croft.
There it all was, the stories of our lives as seen from her eyes:
 
Missus Brodie and her black-eyed triplets, husband long dead
at the horns of a boar; Johnny the knocker with his four-fingered
hand standing by the blacksmith fire; laird Edward McIntosh
 
with his mistress Missus MacLeish laying deep in the shade
of a willow grove; Claire and Norma trading goats’ milk
in sloshing metal pails, sometimes for more than money;
 
Albert and Dave climbing down a tall Scots pine,
crows’ eggs in their mouths running, late for school;
and there was myself, my brown eyes wide, looking
longingly towards her.
 
Fottie is a female wool-gatherer.
 
Published in Painted Words 2015, a BRIT TAFE Anthology,
Edited by Professional Writing and Editing Students
 

Wending

 
On a grey rainy day, a cuckoo bird comes to a tree at my window.
At irregular intervals it hammers among fat drops falling on the flat tin roof.
 
Uncurling the sleeping cat from my lap, I walk out into the misty sky to try and find
the feathered form. Given a choice I would live forever in a day like this: wet, grey,
 
visited by birds singing their intricate songs. I would read stories of bicycle rides
and embroider the thoughts of a honey bee. It takes me days to wash off
 
the nagging world, rinsing and rinsing until finally I find my own skin.
Though I just can’t seem to find that bird that is hammering.
 
Published in Plumwood Mountain, Volume 3, Number 1,
Edited by Tricia Dearborn
 

White-necked (Pacific) Heron,

Ardea pacifica
 
Still
as stone you stand
on long leather legs
in water older than stars
 
As stone you stand
keeping patience
in water older than stars
lapping the lips of the lagoon
 
Keeping patience
your incremental movements
lap the lips of the lagoon
more monk than bird
 
Your incremental movements
clues to the source of stillness
more monk than bird
head bowed collecting prey
 
Clues to the source of stillness
serpent-necked fisherman
head bowed collecting prey
using shadow as ally
 
Serpent-necked fisherman
your charcoal cape enshrouds
using shadow as ally
a trick the sunshine taught
 
Your charcoal cape enshrouds
scrying water’s soft underbelly
a trick the sunshine taught
from the sky’s open lid
 
Scrying water’s soft underbelly
beak poised as a precise knife
under the sky’s open lid
waiting
 
On long leather legs
still
 
Published as part of the Bimblebox 153 Birds, An Australian touring exhibition
Compiled by Jill Sampson
 

Wince

 
Amanda eats ants
underneath the cherry tree,
placing the acrid
green biters
on her wet
flinching tongue
 
Published in The Caterpillar Issue 12 Spring 2016
Edited by Will Govan
 
“Wending” and other poems is © Allis Hamilton

Allis Hamilton in LightAllis Hamilton lives in a small, hand-built shack powered by the sun, in regional Australia where she scampers barefoot over rocks. She creates poetry, art, and music. She was an acrobat and classical musician until a brain haemorrhage put a stop to that. Allis is a co-convener of PoetiCas, her town’s poetry readings. Some of her poems live in Australian Poetry Journal, The Caterpillar, Plumwood Mountain, among other places.

The Story Telling Tent

“Water Memory” and other poems by Jackie Gorman

Water Memory

 
The bottom untouched by sunlight,
heart shrinking down
as though the future isn’t real.
Nothing to hold on to.
Musty smell of the lake,
fish and forgotten hooks.
Boats on the horizon.
Just the water before thought.
My hook snagged in the want of this world.
A silent urge to be like water,
flowing yet strong enough to hold a ship.
I draw a fish in my notebook.
 

The Hare

 
Barney stopped the mower and looked down.
Full-grown, it was twitching in its soft fur.
I twitched when he mumbled “kinder to kill it.”
 
With a mossy stone, he crushed it.
Its liquid eyes and long ears
stayed with me for weeks.
 
I dreamt of it dancing in the callow,
when the moon was out.
Threading the faint light
between dusk and dawn,
thresholds of transition.
 
Barney limped,
next time I saw him
climb out of the tractor.
 

The Hedgehog

 
My father lifted him up on a spade
and put him down in the back field.
Years later,
I watched my mother looking out the window.
From where she stood,
she watched him scurrying away.
I remembered his tired eyes and shedding spines.
He looked back at her,
as though he knew she was following him
with her wide innocent eyes.
 

The Stag

 
Near Cloonark, I step out of my skin and follow him through the trees.
Tawny antlers rising above the grass, like church spires in a town.
Spell of velvet coat, soft wet muzzle and deep brown eyes.
I know I’d go anywhere with him, following the hazy scent of memory.
I’m drinking pure silence as he crosses the stream.
 
He is doing what he must do to survive,
stripping the bark off ash and birch trees.
He may take something that doesn’t belong to him,
kale or winter wheat, potatoes or rye.
Or perhaps what I want, another chance, another life.
 
He shows me how to wait without waiting,
to be careless of nothing and to see what I see.
Digging up the soil with his cloven hooves.
The translation of something felt,
the expanse between love and not touching.
The dark deep silence, where we dream ourselves human.
 
My life reflected in his eyes, until I see I am him,
watching him slink towards my slough,
assuming its empty folds and creases.
I found a skin like this before and hastily cast it aside ;
a thin membrane of an old reality.
I should have treated it with kindness and not disdain.
 
I walk out of the woods and the clearing gleams.
Water and words, the trail I leave behind.
He’s breathing behind me, shallow and fast.
My breath whispers like a remembered undertow ;
“here, see me as I am, dark venison flesh, warm and solid.”
 

Water Memory and other poems is © Jackie Gorman

IMG_2805Jackie Gorman is from Westmeath. Her work has featured in Bare Hands, Wordlegs, The Honest Ulsterman and later this year, her work will feature in Poetry Ireland Review, The Sentinel Literary Quarterly and Obsessed by Pipework. She has been highly commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Award and the Goldsmith Poetry Competition. She was a prize winner in the 2015 Golden Pen Poetry Competition and her work has appeared in creative writing collections, edited by Noel Monahan, Alan McMonagle and Rita Ann Higgins.

A Celebration of Irish Women Poets on Bloomsday 2016

The Middle of April by Fiona Bolger

After Robert Hass
 
i
 
whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
the droghte of March hath perced to the roote
my grandfather quotes
Chaucer from the vinyl
 
ii
 
he knows more now
we will too soon
 
iii
in the spring
pelmet of green
 
in the summer
scarf of orange
 
in the autumn
shawl of white
 
iv
 
bamboos knock out a tune
until disturbed by elephants
grazing, discarding as they go
 
v
 
The dangers lie in the jugular. No one really likes the smell of elephant poo but it makes paper of a
high quality. Words written on digested bamboo. Nothing is lost between page and palm.
That is mystery: pen, ink, paper, thread, card, dream, word. A memory clings like the smell of dung.
And there are always fibres
 
vi
 
let there be peace between us
let us learn together
om santhi santhi santhi
 
vi
 
there’s no shit like
your own shit
 
vii
 
And instead of entering the reserve forest we wandered through the village. The tea shop sold weak
milky tea. We heard them, small black cows with bells around their necks.
People warned us an elephant herd was nearby. We found their still steaming dung.
This was all free and unreserved.
 
viii
 
the green mango is sour
best eaten karam with vellum
 
Nagpur loose jackets are rare now
orange trees cut to grow apartments
 
the iron red soil of Niyamgiri
woven into the shawl
 
ix
 
Here are some things to eat from a banana leaf: idli, dhosa, uttapam, appam, idiappam, sambhar,
rasam, chutney, chutney podi, kozhikattai, thair saddam, thokku, chappatti, parratta, puri,
anna saru, chakra pongal, ven pongal. Ungaishtam sapdingo … Eat your desire.
 
x
 
still searching
for the man in the cafe
 
xi
silk saree
 
xii
 
she said: ask them
and he said: no
she said: why is it
like this?
he said: nothing
she said: no
he said:
 
xiii
 
theyn kuricha nari
the fox who has drunk honey
 
xiv
 
and from vinyl I learned
He loves you, yeah, yeah…
Did you happen to see….
myself in those songs?
 
xv
 
agni nakshetram –
water tastes sweet
as mango juice trickles
from finger tip to hand
to elbow and bathed every veyne
in swich licour, of which vertu
engendered is the flour
 
The Middle of April is © Fióna Bolger
 
fiona bolgerFióna Bolger’s work has appeared in Southword, The Brown Critique, Can Can, Boyne Berries, Poetry Bus, The Chattahoochee Review, Bare Hands Poetry Anthology, The Indian Muse and others. Her poems first appeared in print tied to lamp posts (UpStart 2011 General Election Campaign). They’ve also been on coffee cups (The Ash Sessions).
 
Her grimoire, The Geometry of Love between the Elements, was published by Poetry Bus Press in 2013. Her work has been translated into Irish, Tamil and Polish reflecting the journey her life has taken.
 
She is a facilitator at Dublin Writers’ Forum and a member of Airfield Writers. She works as a creative mentor with Uversity MA in Creative Process. She lives between Dublin and Chennai.
 
from The Geometry of Love Between the Elements (Poethead)

Tree Tunnel by Geraldine O Kane

 
We walked mid road under the tunnel of trees
huge trunks branched above us
their leaves feathery boas floating
from about their necks, sheltered us for a moment
– only a moment
 
In a split second through the arc of recess
where the sun had warmed to our skin
came sheeting rain; energetic beads
with bellies full readily dropping their payload.
 
We did not twist with arms flung wide,
in circles with heads thrown back,
catching rain with our open mouths.
After twenty minutes and two car passing’s,
we were drenched chills crept over our bodies.
 
We stopped sought sanctuary along the verge
you mimicking the tree trunks
providing as much shelter as your frame would allow,
curling in on me, latent, against your chest,
chin resting on my porous hair,
elemental I attuned to the call –
of your heart rate, your skin…
 
when a car pulled over
sweeping us away
from the summer downpour.
 
Nadelah is © Geraldine O’Kane.

Geraldine O’Kane is originally from County Tyrone. She has been writing poetry since her teens, and has had numerous poems published in journals, e-zines and anthologies such as BareBack Lit, FourXFour, Illuminated Poetry Ireland, Poetry Super Highway and more.
 
Geraldine is a regular reader at the Purely Poetry open mic nights in Belfast. She has previously been part of a local writing group at the Craic Theatre, and has performed some of her work in local theatres and at the Dungannon Borough Council Arts Festival. Her poetry is mostly inspired by observation and the human condition. She specialises in micropoetry. She held her first solo exhibition in the 2013 Belfast Book Festival, using art, dance and music to interpret micropoetry centred around the theme of relationships and decay.
 
The Poet O’Kane

Laundry by Roisin Kelly

 
It was one of life’s thoughtless routines,
lifting your clothes from my floor.
 
When I find some of your old shirts again
I hold them as gently
 
as if they’re fragile eggshells, the warm
yolk of life gone from them.
 
I know what it’s like to feel as empty
as a man’s unwashed shirt.
 
For the last time, I wash your clothes
with my own; for the last time
 
I perform that domestic ritual of love.
Our clothes hang side by side
 
once more: mine bright, yours dark.
Damp cloth, the scent of floral detergent.
 
Cherry blossoms in April,
two people caught in a sudden shower.
 
Laundry is © Roisin Kelly

.
Pic © Linda IbbotsonRoisin Kelly is an Irish poet who was born in Belfast and raised in Co. Leitrim, and has since found her way to Cork City via a year on a remote island and an MA in Writing at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Chicago, The Stinging Fly, The Timberline Review, The Irish Literary Review, Synaesthesia, Aesthetica, The Penny Dreadful, Bare Fiction, The Baltimore Review, Banshee, and Hallelujah for 50ft Women: Poems about Women’s Relationship to their Bodies (Bloodaxe 2015). More work is forthcoming in Best New British and Irish Poets (Eyewear 2016).

Off Duty by Katie O’Donovan

 
Is my face just right,
am I looking as a widow should?
I pass the funeral parlour
where four weeks ago
the ceremony unfurled.
Now I’m laughing with the children.
The director of the solemn place
is lolling out front, sucking on a cigarette.
We exchange hellos,
and I blush, remembering
how I still haven’t paid the bill,
how I nearly left that day
with someone else’s flowers.
 
Off Duty is © Katie Donovan first published in The Irish Times, 2014, by Poetry Editor Gerry Smyth
 
2013meatpn1Katie Donovan has published four books of poetry, all with Bloodaxe Books, UK. Her first, Watermelon Man appeared in 1993. Her second, Entering the Mare, was published in 1997; and her third, Day of the Dead, in 2002. Her most recent book, Rootling: New and Selected Poems appeared in 2010. Katie Donovan’s fifth collection of poetry, Off Duty will be published by Bloodaxe Books in September 2016. She is currently working on a novel for children.
 
She is co-editor, with Brendan Kennelly and A. Norman Jeffares, of the anthology, Ireland’s Women: Writings Past and Present (Gill and Macmillan, Ireland; Kyle Cathie, UK, 1994; Norton & Norton, US, 1996). She is the author of Irish Women Writers: Marginalised by Whom? (Raven Arts Press, 1988, 1991). With Brendan Kennelly she is the co-editor of Dublines (Bloodaxe, 1996), an anthology of writings about Dublin.
 
Her poems have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies in Ireland, the UK and the US. She has given readings of her work in many venues in Ireland, England, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, the US and Canada. She has read her work on RTÉ Radio One and on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 3. Her short fiction has appeared in The Sunday Tribune and The Cork Literary Review.

Pair Bond by Barbara Smith

 
dedicated to Dolly Parton
 
The talk in the bar lulls a half-time fill:
as I knife scrape the head from another pint,
he hovers, pocket-foothering his change.
 
Steadying for the ask, he addresses
my full frontals, my baby buggy bumpers,
my Brad Pitts, my boulders, my billabongs,
 
my squashy cushions, my soft-focus bristols,
my motherly bosoms, my matronly bulk,
my Mickey and Minnie, my Monica
 
Lewinskis, my Isaac Newtons,
my snow tyres, my speed bumps, my Tweedle Twins,
my milk-makers, my Mobutus, my num-nums,
 
my Pia Zadoras, my Pointer Sisters,
my honkers, my hooters, my hubcaps, my hummers,
my Eartha Kitts, my Eisenhowers,
 
my Gods milk bottles, my Picasso cubes,
my chesticles, my cha-chas, my coconuts,
my dairy pillows, my devil’s dumplings,
 
my objectified orbs, my über-boobs,
my one-parts Lara, my two-parts globe,
my skywards pips, my lift and separate,
 
my airbags, my feeders, my mammy glands,
my Bob and Ray, my big bouncing Buddhas,
my sweater stretchers, my sweet potatoes,
 
my rosaceous rotors, my trusty rivets,
my melliferous melons, my mau-maus,
my tarty, my taut, my pert palookas,
 
my jahoobies, my kicking kawangas,
my agravic gobstoppers, my immodest maids,
my Scooby Snacks, my squished-in shlobes,
 
my cupcakes, my soda breads, my bloomin’ baps,
my brilliant bangers, my brash bazookas,
my windscreen wipers, my Winnebagos,
 
my wopbopaloubop, wopbopalous,
my yahoos, my yazoos and yipping yin-yangs,
my paps, my pips, my pommes-de-terres,
 
my pushed-up, plunged-down, paraded balcony,
my slow reveal, my instant appeal,
my décolletage, my fool’s mirage,
 
and I watch him pay up, steady up and leave.
 
The Angels’ Share (2012, Doghouse) also frequently performed with The Poetry Divas.
Published in Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, 2012.

Pair Bond is © Barbara Smith
 
barbara-smithBarbara Smith lives in County Louth, Ireland. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Queen’s University, Belfast. Her achievements include being shortlisted for the UK Smith/Doorstop Poetry Pamphlet competition 2009, a prize-winner at Scotland’s 2009 Wigtown Poetry Competition, and recipient of the Annie Deeny 2009/10 bursary awarded by the Tyrone Guthrie Centre for Artists and Writers, Ireland. Her first collection, Kairos, was published by Doghouse Books in 2007 and a second followed in 2012, The Angels’ Share. She is a frequent reader with the Poetry Divas, a collective that read at festivals such as Electric Picnic.

Eve labouring for 37 hours; the yes poem

 
Great
   Monumental
Eve
   in pain.
 
Will bring
Forth a Cain 
   Abel
Cannibal.
 
Exhausted stretch
rather/rather/rather
rather/rather/rather
dilate/than die/ Yes.
 
So just. Sous justice.
En vertu de la justice,
pour :
 
(‘In sorrow you shall bring forth children’)
 
Face. Yes. Present. Yes. Hands.
Yes. His image,
Who conjured it?
 
Mouth of dry twigs
The/sticks/stones
Bones/buttons
a knee-piece/skulls.
 
There are piles of skulls
pushing through my grimacing cunt,
 
All the pretty things,
stones/bones/buttons
a knee-piece/ skulls
 
Sous justice.
 
Merci!

Eve Labouring for 37 Hours; the yes poem at Levure Littéraire 12 is © C. Murray
 
I am very grateful to Carmen-Francesca Banciu for publishing my group of poems at Levure Litteraire 12.
 
Baskin_Death_Among_the_Thistles_1959 (1)From the editorial: The Camps of Resistance and Fields of Consciousness, is the theme of this issue. A wide field! A multifaceted theme that addresses many aspects of our time. When we chose this theme, we did not yet realize that the future contributions would be so inspired by the present and focus on specific aspects, such as (e)migration, exile, escape.The drama of flight, losing one´s home and a country – but even the ambivalent feelings toward the refugees- are the main aspects that have emerged from our topic. Many of our writers have dealt with the theme in an artistic, essayistic, philosophical form.
 
Impressive contributions resulted. Among others, even interdisciplinary projects were created, such as the cooperation between the Irish-American writer Emer Martin and the Indian-American artist Moitreyee Chowdhury, a joint video art, poetry and painting contribution. Or the contributions from Gesine Palmer, Sabine Haupt, Peter O’Neill – just to name a few out of the abundance of outstanding contributions.
 
Some contributions deal with the fear of the ever-increasing amount of war zones and therewith the consequences. Among others, the war zones heavily influenced by religion that endanger humanity by forcing them to act in violence, protest or to flee. The fear of new wars, violence–and terrorism. Implicit questions are asked about the consequences of war and poverty that result from the mass migration. The fear of the established political systems and lifestyles collapsing. The fear of cultures, religions and interests colliding and clashing. But also the aftereffects of ecological exploitation and natural disasters.

Transverse threads; two women poets and Homer

09bOswald.jpgpenne

The weft of  Margaret Atwoods The Penelopiad is contained in and revealed through the chorus voiced by the twelve maids  hung by Telemachus (on Odysseus’ orders) just after the men returned from their manly adventures. Margaret Atwood runs the chorus line throughout her Penelopiad, the executed maids sing their songs at ten intervals in the book. I was struck by a comment that Atwood makes in her notes about the maids. She stated that:

‘The Chorus of Maids is a tribute to such uses of choruses in Greek Drama. The convention of burlesquing the main action was present in the satyr plays before the main drama.’ (Margaret Atwood, Author Notes for The Penelopiad pp. 197-198)

I am always interested in how women writers burlesque the heroic perception of the classics through use of device and structural underpinning. In this instance I have been reading Atwood’s The Penelopiad and Alice Oswald‘s Memorial. Both Atwood and Oswald approach Homeric themes in a sidelong fashion to get to the meat of the oral tradition, their poetic focus is decidedly on the lament. Atwood gives voice to the subversive and unquiet maids of The Odyssey. Oswald creates a dirge through interweaving the names of  fallen warriors of The Iliad. Both Atwood and Oswald use the lament as the kernel for their thematic variations from and approaches to Homeric mythos. The poets use repetition to add texture to their laments thereby shaping and focusing the small forgotten voice  toward expressing a universal grief.  This is a not heroic poetry, it is a poetry of keening and loss.

Oswald’s Memorial has drawn quite divided critique. I mention in particular Jason Guriel‘s  reductionistic approach to the book in which he refers to it as ‘a rose-fingered yawn’. This slighting throwaway remark does little to evoke interest in how women poets actually write, nor does it sufficiently disguise Guriel’s critical ennui. I would point the general poetic-reader to Michael Lista’s critique of Memorial in order to garner a more balanced view of the work.

Atwood’s twelve maids defiantly do not not burlesque the main action of The Penelopiad. They are the main action of the book. Penelope reveals herself to be a tedious bore whose lack of wit and guile are vaguely repellent. I wanted Atwood to get her toe out of the water and focus on the maids who enliven the text with their songs and shanties.  The central pivot of The Penelopiad revolves round the nasty relation between Penelope and Helen rather than on the texturing of the maids burlesquing. In this, Atwood’s approach to Homer is a bit of a missed opportunity. The strength of the book is in its sub-theme which Atwood had not developed into a  fuller rendering. 

Oswald did not make a similar mistake in her approach to Homer’s The Iliad. She has broken down the book and re-made it a powerful dirge. The fact that this has led to an inability by her critics to get to what she is doing only strengthens the work in my view. The index for Memorial comprises an unnumbered litany of names from The Iliad. Oswald weaves their names into the text whilst interspersing their histories with individual laments for the warrior-groupings. These laments vary in length, they are devices to allow the mourning voice through. They are not separate to the main action of the book but are organically interleaved into and caught up in the theme and direction of this epic poem-dirge.

‘Like a man put a wand of olive in the earth
And watered it and that wand became a wave
It became a whip a spine a crown
it became a wind-dictionary
It could speak in tongues
It became a wobbling wagon-load of flowers
And then a storm came spinning by
And it became a broken tree uprooted
It became a wood pile in a lonely field.

Like a man put a wand of olive in the earth
And watered it and that wand became a wave
It became a whip a spine a crown
it became a wind-dictionary
It could speak in tongues
It became a wobbling wagon-load of flowers
And then a storm came spinning by
And it became a broken tree uprooted
It became a wood pile in a lonely field.’Page 31, Memorial, by Alice Oswald

It interests me that contemporary women poets are approaching Homer through the use of the lament. They are voicing the silent mourning that occurs when the glory of battle is over. Atwood is giving voice to the abused girls whose life experiences are of enslavement and of misuse. Oswald does not state that the mourning voice in Memorial is that of a woman, but the cadence of the mourning poems that intersperse her text suggests the chorus, the lament.

In terms of contrast in poetic approaches to direct  engagement with classical literature, one could point to how Ted Hughes re-told the twenty-four Tales From Ovid (Metamorphosis) or look at Heaney’s Beowulf. The fact that critique ignores the poetic engagement of women with the classics of literature only points to critical-disengagement, or at best to a narrow conservatism. It is time that The Chorus (that most pertinent part of Epic) is re-read, and given its place in the overall texturing of great poetic works. What would T.S Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral be without the integrity of the women’s voices?

images
‘…he took a cable which had seen service on a
blue-bowed ship, made one end fast to a high
column in the portico, and threw the other over the
round-house, high-up, so that their feet would not
touch the ground. As when the long-winged thrushes
or doves get tangled in a snare…so the women’s
heads were held fast in a row, with nooses round
their necks, to bring them to the most pitiable end.
For a little while their feet twitched, but not for very long.’ The Odyssey, Book 22 (470473) 


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Transverse threads, women poets and Homer by C. Murray is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


On ‘Two Songs of War and a Lyric’

This year I wrote a cycle of poems relating to war and to women. I titled part of it Two Songs of War and a Lyric for the SouthWord Journal, although it is intimately related to an earlier sequence of art poems, and to the 75th anniversary of Guernica which was marked in 2012. 

The second poem in the art series , Gernika, was written for Euskal PEN and was read during the 75th anniversary commemoration of Guernica this summer of 2012. The first and last poem of the sequence, A Lament, was written some time ago and had been put in a folder. A Lament is too awkward a piece to submit to most journals as it is written for three voices and does not slip easily into the submission guidelines of many reviews. A Lament was written firstly as a poem and then as a chorus. It was conceived to weave in and out of the sequence which was published initially in SouthWord Magazine. Lament is an inherent part of the sequence because it involves the voices of the women who inhabit the poems in Two Songs of War and a Lyric.

As if, Sabine, Gernika , A Lament, and Through the Blossom-Gate are meant to work together, and are about loss and recovery. Here is what has happened to the original cycle, the Lament, and the unpublished cycle of seven poems since I sent them out.

Gernika

A Lament

The 7 cycle is provisionally entitled Eamon Ceannt Park Cycle , after the park that the dream-sequence was written in. I had planned to send it out, as it is ready. However, in all the entire sequence including the lament amounts to thirteen inter-related poems written over the period of a year or two. They inherently form one piece. There is also an emergent coda for the entire. (Completed)

I am glad the poems have found homes and that they resonate with people. I hope to publish the  thirteen poems  together at some point, but I see that I will have to make my own arrangement for them, as they hardly fall into a traditional submission-shape. The most important thing for me is that they maintain their integral unity and coherence. I am editing them into a folder and deciding how I will eventually publish them in their integrity as a whole piece.

I included the list where the poems appear separately beneath this post.