The two poems chosen are from my set prompted by the concept SAINT which also inspired my short story in the current issue of The Lonely Crowd, ‘Above It All’.
Winter came early for that girl
When the unreturning brother –
The endlessly prevented youth –
Was thrown first in a ditch
And then a grave.
She was the Winter’s girl,
Wearing its icy dress,
So when she saw one parent
Smash the other’s face into a wall
She wasn’t fazed. She understood how well
The rounded skull fits to the palm;
How deep the need to make pain visible since he
Had been hooded when they tortured him.
But she − to Mammy and Daddy both −
She had become
As faint as frost on glass.
Then even the mirrors emptied.
A neighbour, meaning to be kind,
Had asked her to help him set December bulbs,
Late possibilities. She’d cupped a Winter White,
A cranium, papery-skinned and primed,
But when his back was turned
She’d plunged the bulb in upside down,
Cursing it to torment itself
In growing towards the dark.
Since she was a murderer too
She sentenced herself to drink till she was sick
On school-nights out beyond the playing fields.
And only the cold would do.
But a long dormancy
Can keep something alive.
Forty years on, even the Winter tired
Of cold. It dis-adopted her,
Heading for Spring
When she shouldered her dying mother
And felt how well that heavy head
Fitted the hollow below her collar-bone,
In that embrace sensing
A possibility, though late.
Image: Claire Loader
I’m honoured to have a poem in #61 of ‘The North’, the special issue on contemporary Irish poetry.
It launches on 24th January at Poetry Ireland, Dublin and on February 25th as an event organised by the Irish Literary Society.
My piece on the genesis of a short story in ‘The Lonely Crowd’.
photo by Jo Mazelis
My poem, ‘Admission on leaving the Port of Belfast, 1988’ appears here on page 53.
‘Above It All’, my short story set in the Vatican appears in Issue 10 of
The literary magazine of Queen’s University, Belfast is edited by postgrads at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, launching 24th October at Bookfinders, Belfast.
I’m pleased to have 2 poems in it, especially ‘An Irish Merchant Seaman’, a sonnet about my late father who was a Belfast man.
Mae’n bywsig bod llais y Cymry a gafodd y profiad o fyw drwy’r Helyntion yng Ngogledd Iwerddon yn rhan o’r drafodaeth ynglyn â phroblemau yn y dyfodol.