‘What She Sings Of’ and other poems by Eileen Sheehan

an elegy of sorts

for want of an ash-tray
I rest my cigarette
on this grey plate,
a remnant
from some depleted set,
now serving as candle-holder
the cigarette tip sizzles
as it hits a pat of wax
I inhale and taste the tallow
as red seeps down the paper
stains the filter
a last molten drop
from a crimson candle, lit
as votive for an injured cat
the cat now buried
in a sunny spot
by the back wall
a favoured place of his
for grooming
there was a point to all of this
which now evades me
like that raw evening,
placing his still-warm body
in the grave, how everything
but the weeping
failed me
© Eileen Sheehan from the collection Down the Sunlit Hall (Doghouse Books)

What She Sings Of

Once in a time he was the sky clothing me,
the warm earth supporting me,
the all-in-all of every night and day to me.
He was salt waves washing me,
he was wind caressing me, fire igniting me,
the first and last of every cause that moved me.
He was fish that jumped for me,
bird that sang for me, beast that nourished me,
the craving and cure of every need inside of me.
Now he is a bright ship pulling away from me,
white sail gone from me, his rough wake drowning me,
he is shimmer of scales growing out of me;
soon I will sing to him, comb out my hair for him,
draw him back to me, lure him down to me.
© Eileen Sheehan
first published in The Watchful Heart: A New Generation of Irish Poets (ed Joan McBreen/Salmon Poetry)


Eileen Sheehan
Eileen Sheehan

Eileen Sheehan is from Killarney, Co Kerry. Her collections are Song of the Midnight Fox and Down the Sunlit Hall (Doghouse Books). Anthology publications include The Watchful Heart: A New Generation of Irish Poets (ed Joan McBreen/Salmon Poetry) and TEXT: A Transition Year English Reader (ed Niall MacMonagle/ Celtic Press). She has worked as Poet in Residence with Limerick Co Council Arts Office and is on the organizing committee for Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary & Arts Festival. Her third collection, The Narrow Place of Souls, is forthcoming.

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