All posts tagged: Irish poetry

‘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. …

In Damage Seasons by Michael McAloran

‘Clear the air! Clean the sky! Wash the wind! Take the stone from the stone, take the skin from the arm, take the muscle from the bone, and wash them. Wash the stone, wash the bone, wash the brain, wash the soul, wash them wash them!’   The Chorus , from Murder In The Cathedral by T.S Eliot.     (we convulse in sun light there are skins to trace and there is flesh to caress in some sudden dawning where the sudden shakes the boundary’s clasp….) Scene Forty Two, In Damage Seasons    The structure underpinning Michael McAloran’s In Damage Seasons is Palladian (a.b.a) or a quasi-triptych. It isn’t however an altar-piece or a pleasure-dome of a book. The parts of the triptych structure are: Onset, In Damage Seasons, and nothing’s bones-. The thematic thrust of the book which fully comprises 130 pages interspersed with kaleidoscope images, is barely contained in the second section eponymously titled and consisting of fifty individual scenes. Onset opens the book setting the myriad kaleidoscope theme, and nothing’s bones-  the third …

“Marriage Advice, 1951” and “Waiting” by Mary O’Donnell

Marriage Advice, 1951   Glossy women made her tremble, every word shiny and sure, we’re going to give Jenny a make-over, Jen, the decaying building, the clueless relic.   They made her sweat, even more, those women with Dior skirts and nipped-in waists, who warned the night before the wedding about being prepared.   But it was 1951. Next day, she tried not to faint at the altar although the neighbours whispered, later forced herself to stuff some morsel of the wedding breakfast through her lips, like bad language or something a woman never did masticate, masticate, chew, chew, swallow, the fist of the still-hidden child walloping her gorge as the best man rose, twinkle-eyed, yellow card in hand, a twist of jokes she’d be bound to appreciate.     Marriage Advice, 1951 is © Mary O’Donnell   Waiting   It has grown, not darkly, like mould, that sunless green. Sitting provides the habit of air. Children – trees, coats, limbs, the bounce of long hair as they troop the school road –   means stillness, expansion, despite …

‘Veracity and Other Stories’ poems by Sarah Clancy

The following two poems are by Sarah Clancy  from a forthcoming collection of prose and poetry, called Friction. Veracity and other stories   for Alice Kennelly   I’ve lived in four different decades today stepped onto three continents I took no visas no tickets no passports I wrote my own bill of passage I forged it and what of my fraud if it served us?   I inhabited flesh that wasn’t my own I scratched it kneaded stiff shoulders with hands that emerged from some other wrists some forearms some oxters then I left it   I walked from it and encountered new bones new ligaments new eyes with which I saw what I wanted I decided you were an abstraction so I tried to walk through you but couldn’t I put my palm on your chest but it met with resistance I got caught in your substance   then fuck it I lied about it said you meant nothing that your whole existence was a blip a pot-hole that no-one was fixing and I …

‘The Headless Bird’ by Ileana Mãlãncioiu

The Headless Bird According to custom, the old people have shut me away Not to scare me stupid when they killed the bird, And I am listening by the bolted door To the trampling and the struggle. I twist the lock time has worn thin To forget what I have heard, to get away From this struggle where The body races after the head. And I jump when the eyes, thick with fear Turn backwards, turn white, They look like grains of maize, The others come and peck at them. I take the head in one hand, the rest in the other, And when the weight grows too much I switch them . . .   around Until they are dead, so they are still connected At least in this way, through my body. But the head dies sooner, As if the cut had not been properly done, And so that the body does not struggle alone I wait for death to reach it passing through me. © Ileana Mãlãncioiu , Trans. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin Ileana Mãlãncioiu is a …