All posts tagged: Contemporary Irish Women Poets

“The Unfinished Poem” and other poems by Caroline Johnstone

The Unfinished Poem The house his mind once called its home Has gaping roofs, and paint-cracked eaves, Of forget-me-not blues The frosted brittle skeletons of history and wit served now As a porridge of forgetfulness, faint echoes haunt Sweet gentle kisses of remembrance Dementia’s wraiths roam shadowed emptied rooms, Herald long laments for lonely roads where memories float In space yet give no hope, no sense of place. As Alice keeps on falling down the rabbit-holes of grief The curtains close on last acts interrupted. Observers weep at unfinished poems. 1771 – The American Wake (published by The Galway Review) My firstborn child declared his independence, Said he would choose to live, not die, by drought that stalked us all, Or drown by workhouse shame. The death knell rang. America had called, cried freedom, hope. He left our land, was pushed by fear, by poverty that gnawed his soul, And pulled by hope, and images of greener lands than these. While on the hill, the landlord nodded, raised the rents And watched our young ones …

“Devotion” and other poems by Lani O’Hanlon

MY MOTHER’S LOVER   The occupational therapist who came to visit left an invalid toilet seat with handles in the bathroom and a gadget with a claw hand to pick up things from the floor. My mother demonstrated how they worked, rehearsing to be an old lady hobbling on arthritic feet. Until Stein arrived, the sailor she’d had an affair with thirty years before. ‘You have no idea how angry your father was.’ ‘I do. I was in the next bedroom.’ And so the Dutch man came, with flowers and still wearing her Claddagh ring. He had blue eyes and a dog called Bonny. The invalid toilet seat vanished. She made my sister go shopping for new underwear. First published in The Moth Issue 19 Winter 2014/2015 Ed, Rebecca O’ Connor BACK UP QUICK, THEY’RE HIPPIES   That was the year we drove into the commune in Cornwall. ‘Jesus Jim’ mam said, ‘back-up quick, they’re hippies.’ Through the car window, tents, row after row, flaps open, long haired men and women curled around each other …

“When The Queen Falls In love” and other poems by Ingrid Casey

Jazz in a Northern City   Amidst turmoil, paindragon carried me for nights, to see the Goth. She was in Macbeth with the artist, the room was filling with books, miniature figures, heated exchanges, we rolled downhill, to the galleries. I filled her ears with chocolate, she was beaming. Her black Halloween curls twined around doorways, illustrated our friendship. There are silences, empathy in the space, in the difference squared between floor and ceiling. On this day there was Sun Ra, at perfect pitches, head phones suspended in a whole constellation. The child inside could reach a star, listen. It was dark, melodious, soothing, and definitely love.   The Boxer Reads To Me   Sit here, I dare you, again for Sakhalin, salon moments, pore over the Poet, crease of hip cut before me like diamonds, spine coilsprung to recite. Talk to me about la Motta, the animal, warm bright rocks on me the primal the literary ones, you are coal walls lit up, it’s dark, I’m awake with you.   A Sonnet with an …

“Thrushes In The Rowan Tree” and other poems by Maureen Boyle

Christmas Box   There is honey and chocolate on our doorstep since Christmas—sweet box and coral flower— one on either side. The heuchera with ruffled cocoa-coloured leaves hunkers in the corner but the sarcococca or sweet box is where we step inside by design so that on nights as dark as winter and full of storm we brush the bluff, squat, shrub and boots and coat trail the scent of summer into the hall. Its flowers are what are left of flowers, petals blown away—spindly threads ghostly in the leaves, the odd early blood-berry that follows. Its genus confusa is right—from so frail a bloom a scent so big, as if the bees have nested in it and are eager for their flight.  Thrushes In The Rowan Tree   The very day the rowanberries ripen, thrushes fly in, stately and speckled, as if summoned there. They turn the tree to illustration, an autumn square in an illuminated script, or a sultan’s tree of singing birds. Acrobats in motley, they swing, making lithe lines of branches, stretching—somersaulting …

‘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 …