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Poem in The Ogham Stone 2019

The Ogham Stone

I am delighted to have a poem in this journal produced by students on the MA in English and MA in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick. The 2019 edition has a particularly thoughtful and coherent design which draws the contents together visually by simple and appropriate means. The foliage motif (below) combines with an on-page ogham-style vertical element in an elegant colour scheme. The 2020 edition is underway.

TWO AUTUMNS

Beyond the classroom window

The young tree burns, orange against drab,

Its loosened leaves drifting like languid fire-flakes.

I am ten and I try my hand at a Pearsean ennui,

Picked up from Palgrave’s ‘Anglo-Irish Supplement’:

O, the sorrow of the world is on me

And I’m tired with life…

I am as old as the wind that ferrets in the trees,

As the hidden sun and the pale and empty sky.

Today I’m sixty-one and beyond the window here

My acer shoots from its crown

The green stars of its year’s new growth

Skywards on arching scarlet rods.

Between trees – more than fifty years, the Irish Sea.

I could die now: spouse companioned through the turbulent years;

Children reared; grandparents in their graves.

 

Wasn’t it the solstice yesterday? A shortening of light

But, I predict, tonight we’ll be astonished once again

At the landing spotlit by a seven-eighths moon

Lancing through the toilet window.

 

What is it that I’ve learned? Windows are good and I

Should get out of my own light.

 

 

 

ULSTER SCOTS WEEK – POEM

Re-entry, Ulster – on the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing of 1969

Ma feither caa’d Wee Tam’s The Mune,
Fer the eyefu’ frae the gutter o’ thon Deil’s Den,
The mair, tae a weefla, Iniquity, a stern kirk-wurd,
Glamoured thaim cowp’d Deil’s Ain.
Yit, canny, A luik’d ap tae Him, the Lord
That wrocht the stars, the mune.

But thon ither god, the Yankee wan, ris then.
A lairnt new wurds − Trajectory, Jettison
And I sloughed off my pleghmy, chagrining ain.

Fiftie year on, wised-ap, A’m bak tae yirth agane.

TRANSLATION
Re-entry, Ulster – on the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing of 1969

My father called Tam’s pub The Mune,
Citing the view from the gutter of that Deil’s Den,
Though, to a boy, Iniquity, a solemn, churchy word,
Shed glamour on those fallen Deil’s Ain.
Shrewdly enough, I still looked up to Him, the Lord
Who made the stars, the moon.

But that other god, American, rose then.
I learned new words − Trajectory, Jettison
And I sloughed off my own − my phlegmy, chagrining ain.

Fifty years on, and wiser, Am bak tae yirth agane.

by Angela Graham

First Published in The Bangor Literary Journal August 2019

Issue 9: The Open House Festival Edition

Cover Art: ‘Discworld 6-5’ by Les Sharpe

Award from Arts Council N. Ireland & National Lottery

I am thrilled to receive an award from the Support for Individual Artists Programme (SIAP) of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Lottery funds.

This will help to fund a project on Place and Displacement. I will be working in poetry, memoir and fiction.

I appreciate this support very much in what will be a challenging undertaking.

 

Heather Newcombe Poetry Award

I am delighted to have won joint Third Prize in the Almost Dancing Poetry Competition and Heather Newcombe Award. The Award honours the late Heather Newcombe, a poet who established the Let Me Take You To The Island Writing Festival on Rathlin in 1997.

Heather was a driving force in the Ballycastle Writers’ Group who run the Competition and Award.  Entries were judged by poets, Joan and Kate Newmann.

The Group launched its anthology of work by the Group members, ‘An Unfinished Thought’ on 29th October.

 

Finalist in PENfro Book Festival Poetry Competition

Judge Rhiannon Hooson has chosen Elizabeth Wilson Davies’s poem ‘Heartland’ as the winner of this year’s poetry competition. My poem, ‘After Iconoclasm: The Jesse Tree Window’ and 19 other poems will be published in the Festival Anthology  by Parthian Books.

Continue reading Finalist in PENfro Book Festival Poetry Competition

Shortlisted for Write By The Sea Competition

I’m delighted that my short story ‘The Bangle’ is on the shortlist for the Write By The Sea Festival Competition.

I had three stories shortlisted for this last year. I messed up the payment process and ended up with 3 entries. The administrator for the Festival was impressively patient with my ham-fistedness and when I saw that all three stories had made the shortlist I was initially convinced that it was because I had somehow made another mistake!

As I like the sea theme, and since the Festival seems to be such a properly human enterprise, making allowances for the likes of hames-makers such as mysef, I wrote one for this year’s round. Hence my especial delight at making the shortlist again.

I very much enjoyed writing the story.

The Festival programme looks really good, with writers such as Paula Meehan, Kit de Waal and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne.

Programme 2019

 

Poem on the Prorogation of Parliament

The Prorogation of Parliament

That day when the wedding guests exploded;

That day when I let a wee girl ricochet

From and towards her mother’s spew of blame;

That day I didn’t shelter

A railway worker from a racist shower …

 

Some close at hand, some far.

Kabul or Coleraine station, the same acid rain.

 

That day in Coleraine station when I witnessed

The airiness its architect enticed inside;

A guard whose smile kept all our doors ajar

And, in town, a window of bottles,

Wittily displayed — such light-filled things.

 

These close at hand. In far

Kabul or Coleraine station, the same inherent shine?

 

Today, when democracy exploded,

I was tread-milling for an email thrill

When I caught the acrid taste of tipping-point.

In the rank mulch of small misdeeds

The great ones grow. Wake up, wake up, my soul.

 

Some close at hand, some far.

Kabul, Coleraine, the Commons, I must reach those I can.