The First Cut is…
for Ifrah Ahmed
I could feel
In the still
Canal Walk Home
What is it
Three lads sit on the boardwalk
Car lights are reflected in
Edged by banking sycamore leaves
A little further on
And then to gaze down the row
The red car lights more dense
For all your talk
The splendour of the curvature of the
My soul is saddening.
Take me away. No answer.
But while geographically there were many places she could have gone to.
His flinty eyes of malice recognised this.
Only her emptiness lingered
That seething chasm of nothingness
Why, the wolves of course.
Engorged breasts of black milk
The Last Day
Consumed and other poems are Gilliam Hamill.
|Originally from the village of Eglinton in Derry, Gillian Hamill has lived in Dublin for the past 12 years (intermingled with stints in Galway, Waterford and Nice). She has a BA in English Studies from Trinity College, Dublin and a MA in Journalism from NUI Galway. She is currently the editor of trade publication, ShelfLife magazine and has acted in a number of theatre productions. Gillian started writing poetry in late 2014.
⊗ Gillian’s Website
SONG TO NEHALENNIA (NETHERLANDS, AD 200)
LOOKING FOR NERTHUS (AD 100)
SONG TO SEQUANA (BURGUNDY, 100 BC)
SONG TO SULIS (BATH, 100 BC)
|Tim Miller’s most recent book is the long narrative poem, To the House of the Sun (S4N Books). His novel Bearing the Names of Many is forthcoming from Pelekinesis, and he also write about poetry, history and religion at http://www.wordandsilence.com.|
Saint Teresa’s Heart
the walls of its chambers reverberate still.
none can unravel. A mystic with inquisitorial
immaculate and shining in fields of barley
O my sisters this I left, leaving only entrails
pencils in its margins: morning has come
Saint Christina’s Gut
Hunched on the top branch
I, my own cartographer
Out at the end of a birch twig
No holy anorexic I gorge
High among incensed rafters
Saint Christina’s Gut published Abridged 0-37 (July 2014), p. 44.
Saint Joan’s Mirror
Whispering we know
She will put the Dauphin
Mary Magdalene’s Foot
A wanderer then
And washing others
Some stormy season
Mary Magdalene’s Foot published A New Ulster 39 (Dec 2015), pp. 15/6.
She did not drink dark cups from the sores
the arc her spine, sculpt her sigh or tease out
The remaining years in an anchorite’s cell
she wrote: do not accuse yourself of sin
but your own. The father no entity only place
Julian’s Eyes published The Galway Review (January 29 2016).
Though they think
still will I speak
with you tasted mint
drank wine and wild honey
divining blue, the fish
always outside their book
who withholding holy office
beside the spring
Mechtild’s Tongue published The Galway Review (January 29 2016).
Our Lady of Częstochowa
Not ones for faffing around
Her right hand pointing at her son.
Clare McCotter’s haiku, tanka and haibun have been published in many parts of the world. She won the IHS Dóchas Ireland Haiku Award 2010 and 2011. In 2013 she won The British Tanka Award. She also judged the British Haiku Award 2011 and 2012. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on Belfast born Beatrice Grimshaw’s travel writing and fiction. Her poetry has appeared in Abridged, Boyne Berries, The Cannon’s Mouth, Crannóg, Cyphers, Decanto, Envoi, The Galway Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Iota, Irish Feminist Review, The Leaf Book Anthology 2008, The Linnet’s Wings, The Moth Magazine, A New Ulster, Panning For Poems, The Poetry Bus (forthcoming), Poetry24, Reflexion, Revival, The SHOp, The Stinging Fly, and The Stony Thursday Book. Black Horse Running, her first collection of haiku, tanka and haibun, was published in 2012. Home is Kilrea, County Derry.
The Devil, Oblique Angles and Polka Dots
Your host shimmers
beyond the margin of this page
as my fingers tap-tap you from the dead.
It takes you a while to snap into focus.
You remind me
of a day when I was eight,
or ten, at most,
the day I got lost in the woods.
How I blubbered and wailed for you!
When you finally found me—
a snot and hiccup spewing fountain
– not pretty.
“What took you so long?”
It was strange how you appeared, seemingly out of nowhere;
haloed in spring beyond the green fog of young birches,
your sudden presence, not reassuring – not at first –
“why did you leave me?” I cried
all the while, you, unruffled, reproached me: “Shame on you. A big girl crying
like a baby. And for no reason at all. Don’t you know that God
is watching over you, Detushka?’
Aha! This is where I should invoke the DEVIL.
Yet, there is no need,
for he’s here, already, lurking.
in the detail, wearing
your best navy polka dot dress – what else –
the one you were buried in.
The one you had kept shrouded, when alive,
in a film of translucent tissue.
How well I recall the day:
me, six years old and agog
for the morbid. For hadn’t you whispered to me:
“I’ll tell you a secret – something you should know
for when I’m dead.”
Of course I was disappointed! A DRESS? IS THAT ALL? Polka dots!
What the devil! I should have / could have exclaimed, but sure,
at that age I didn’t know any better.
But no, it is you, not the devil I see hovering just there,
where my eye does not dare
appearing to me as you did that day in the woods:
light streaming over your left shoulder, oblique, aimless—
the light, of course,
not the shoulder, for the shoulder, even lopsided,
knew where it was heading.
Heaven was always your destination,
as I knew only too well.
And I knew, equally well, there was no place for me
astride a puffy cloud my nose buried in your soft breast
gleaning comfort from your old woman smell.
My place was in the woods. Kneeling on a bed
of prickly pine needles.
Of course I hated that icon of yours;
that dead-eyed, flat-faced Madonna
and her miniature child simpering at me in his nakedness
when all I wanted to do was sleep
while you, awake at the crack of dawn, genuflecting
praying all the while:
I hasten to Thee,
O Master, Lover of mankind, and by Thy loving-kindness I strive
to do Thy work
… and oh, how you worked!
digging the permafrost. Building His canal,
the one that went nowhere.
GLORY, GLORY THE REVOLUTION!
and I pray to Thee: Help me, O God, at all times
Did he ever!
But, perhaps He did, at that.
What is it they say about God and burdens? He did help,
after a fashion:
by the time I was born, your once dainty feet,
He had magic-ed to the size of a man’s,
and your delicate hands to that of shovels.
and deliver me, O God, from every worldly evil thing
and every impulse of the Devil OHO, HERE WE COME
TO THE CRUX OF IT:
WE CAN NEVER ESCAPE THE DEVIL.
Yes, I fed him tasty morsels to do my bidding – unknowingly –
I made him promises,
offered him rewards,
without knowing I was doing any such thing. Like the time I cut
my Barbie’s hair for him
(he liked her shorn of course, her eyes, hence, more visibly dead).
You see; the Devil was honest that way. And a good teacher too:
no more worship for me at the altar of Barbie! That’s why
when your icon fell off its perch
I knew IT WAS HIS DOING!
So what if it was my rubber ball that hit the shelf where the icon rested,
Madonna and Child no longer serene above the ever-burning flame?
even the Devil needs a helping hand.
|The Devil, Oblique Angles and Polka Dots is © Sue Cosgrave|