Nuala Ní Chonchúir
is a writer and poet, who has contributed poems and translations to the blog over sometime. I am linking here to her poetry collections page
In the hush of my father’s house,
before dusk rustles over the horizon,
I take off the dress my mother made
-it’s as ruby red as St Michael’s cloak-
and with a stitch of linen, bind my breasts.
By the greasy light of a candle,
I shear my hair to the style of a boy,
in the looking glass I see my girlhood
swallowed up in a tunic and pants,
I lace them tightly to safeguard myself.
My soldiers call me ‘Pucelle’, maiden,
they cleave the suit of armour to my body,
and know when following my banner
over ramparts into Orléans, that
there will only ever be one like me.
When the pyre flames fly up my legs,
I do not think of the Dauphin,
or my trial as a heretical pretender,
but see my mother, head bent low,
sewing a red dress for her daughter to wear.
As Tatú, le Nuala Ní Chonchuir, Arlen House, 2007.
“(née Eithne O’Connell) (1923-1999), poet and writer of fiction. Born in Glensharrold, Co. Limerick, she was educated at TCD. She worked in the Civil Service, 1942-3. Her first collection, Songs of Living (1961), was followed by Sarah in Passing (1974), Flesh-the Greatest Sin (1980), Cirt Oibre (1980), Fuil agus Fallaí (1983), My Darling Neighbour (1985), Aoife Faoi Ghlas (1990), An Sagart Pinc (1990), Spatial Nosing (1993) and Nobel (1999). The Love Riddle (1993) was a novel.”
must talk in riddles
if he will not risk himself
of public eye and tongue
blaspheming privacies :
of leeches sucking parallels
carnivores to strip his shivering secrecies
intricately. he should be
silent or speak out.
his arbitrary offerings.
from Sarah in Passing , by Eithne Strong. Dolmen Books 1974.
Phrase Books Never Equip you for the Answers
On the morning of the fifteenth time we went through
our sleep-with-your-ex routine, I had the usual optimism
thing about mistakes is to not keep repeating the same ones
I said disregarding the government health warning
on the cigarettes I was sucking, crossing the road without
stopping speaking or looking, ignoring the red man pulsing
on the lights at the junction, I was wired direct and I said;
I know, I’ll write you the definitive user manual for me.
You said I was arrogant that we should make it up as we go,
and I said; well could I do a mind map then? With
here be dragons marked clearly in red, so we won’t flounder
like last time end up washed up dehydrated and drained
well I was, fairly wired, I said ‘in each shipwreck we’re lessened
embittered, come on, let me at least try to fix it, I can write us
a blueprint for the new improved version, and you laughed
and said well damn you for a head-wreck, go on then and do it.
So I wrote, but it came out all stilted, like a work in translation
see when I say, let me fix that or give it here and I’ll do it
it means I need you, and if I tell you for example how
I’ll re-arrange the universe to your liking it doesn’t mean
I’m superior in fact, translated it’s about the same as the last one-
‘can you not see, how I need you? And when I come out with all those
‘you-shoulds’ that drive you demented, there’s no disrespect in ‘em
verbatim they’re whispering I’d be desolated without you
and when you call me control freak, the tendencies you’re describing
are inherently rooted in my fear of you leaving and how I’ll react.
Less-wired more hopeful I brought you my phrase book
on our very next meeting but you kissed my cheek and said
let me stop you a minute and then those awful words that never
signify good outcomes, listen I’ve been thinking… I know
we’ve got this weird cyclical attraction thing going and I’m sorry
for my part in it but really I can’t see it working, the problem
for me is how you just don’t need anything and my phrase book
had nothing listed under that heading.
© Sarah Clancy
Thanks to Sarah Clancy for the poem, Phrase Books Never Equip you for the Answers , which is taken from Thanks for Nothing Hippies . Published Salmon Poetry 2012.
Kate Dempsey’s poetry is widely published in Ireland and the UK including Poetry Ireland Review,The Shop, Orbis and Magma. Kate blogs at Writing.ie and Emerging Writer .
You can catch her on Twitter at PoetryDivas.
It’s What You Put Into It
On the last day of term
you brought home a present,
placed it under the tree,
a light, chest-shaped mystery
wrapped in potato stamped paper
intricate with angels and stars.
you watched as we opened it,
cautious not to tear the covering.
Inside, a margarine tub, empty.
Do you like it? eyes huge.
What is it, sweetheart?
A box full of love, you said.
You should know, O my darling girl,
it’s on the dresser still
and from time to time, we open it.”
© Kate Dempsey, all rights reserved.
Celia De Fréine
Celia de Fréine is a poet, playwright and screenwriter who writes in Irish and English, her site is at http://celiadefreine.com/
An Bhean Chaointe
Taim ag caoineadh anois chomh fada
agus is chumhin liom
ce gur dócha go raibh me óg trath-
seans fiú amháin gp mbinn ag súgradh.
Ni cuimhin liom an t-am sin
ná an ghruaim a chinn an ghairm seo dom.
Ni cuimhin liom ach oiread
éinne den dream
atá caointe agam-
ní dhearna mé taighde ar a saol
ná nior léigh mé cur síos orthu
i gcolún na marbh.
Ach is maith is eol dom
gach uair a sheas mé
taobh le huaigh bhealschoilte,
gur chomóir me gach saol
go huile is go hiomlán,
gur laoidh mé éachtaí
is gur eachtaigh mé
lorg a sinsear.
go bhfuil na caointe seo
tar éis dul in bhfedhim orm.
Dá mbeadh jab eile agam
ba bhreá liom bheith im scealaí-
sui le hais na tine is scéalta a insint.
D’éistfeá liom- tharraingeodh
d’Eddifon asam iad
á n-alpadh sa treo is go slanofaí mé.
Faoi Chabáistí is Ríonacha, Published by Clo Iar-Chonnachta, indreabhán, 2001.