Poems by Rosemarie Rowley


I have not been keeping a ledger or account book
Of double entries, for the cost and price
Is not reckoned in the way you look
Or what you said, in whatever form or guise
I’ll never know your motives or intentions
Whether you acted blindly or on trust
But your suspicion of all engines and inventions
Does not bury the lost meaning, or let rust
The iron will, the gold enamelling –
Byzantine portraits in detail are enthralling
And with the years there comes the mellowing
Of my survivor’s guilt, the clarity of my calling
It was not fair, but lust and beauty
Caused the raid, and not excise on love’s duty.
© Rosemarie Rowley 2012


A ring tingle of fear ran around my belly
Deep in my secret folds a spark of anger flew
To where your ears had picked up jelly-
Fish stings that wanted to be blue
It raced back to the womb of your un-desiring
Self where, abandoned, you brindled in your edge
Of razor sharp innuendo which was firing
Your awestruck envy of a child’s winter knowledge
Your long arm bent my back, a spancel
Till it almost broke with the weight of zealous
Might that needs exorcism in a chancel
To make a penitent nun like you jealous
So clapped my eyes and ears that were burning
As you roasted me on the spit your ire was turning.

© Rosemarie Rowley


He said as he sat at the wrought-iron utility desk
Beside the window whose frame was too large
You’ll get over me, you will risk
The transfer of love from the office to the barge
Of the old canal of desiring in my Dutch hometown
For we knew little, who were the divine elect
But that the balance of justice He wore in his crown
Of thorns on his head hurt, yet He was not perfect
But jealous of the worship of other Gods
He admits Himself, he is staff and rod
Knew Eve’s peccadillo and Adam’s pelf.
Everything ordained, the elect will be saved
Some go to Hell on the path you have paved
With good intentions, but lacking in free will
I see your progress in my view from the hill.

© Rosemarie Rowley 2012

rosemarie672Rosemarie Rowley has written extensively in form: Flight into Reality (1989) is the longest original work in terza rima in English, reprinted 2010 and now available on CD. She has also written in rhyme royal and rhyming couplets. She has four times won the Epic award in the Scottish International Open Poetry Competition. Her books in print are: The Sea of Affliction (1987,one of the first works in ecofeminism, reprinted 2010, and Hot Cinquefoil Star, (2002) (which contains The Puzzle Factory a crown of sonnets and Letter to Kathleen Raine in rhyming couplets). Her most recent book is In Memory of Her (2004, 2008) which includes Betrayal into OriginDancing & Revolution in the Sixties (an 80 stanza poem in decima rima (ten line rhyme) and The Wake of Wonder (a regular sonnet sequence) and many other sonnets; all books, except her first, The Broken Pledge (1985, Martello) published by Rowan Tree Ireland Press, Dublin.
In 2003, she co-edited, with town planner John Haughton, an anthology of tree poems, Seeing the Wood and the Trees (Rowan Tree Press with Cairde na Coille)
Rosemarie has given papers for academic conferences in the Universities of Galway and Limerick and the Clinton Institute (UCD) in Ireland, in Bath, Edinburgh, St. Andrews’ and Stirling, Louisville, Sarasota and Atlanta Universities in the USA. in the UK, and in Prague, Venice, Paris ,and Valladolid on the European mainland. She has been active in the green movement in Ireland and in the Irish Byron Society and worked for a time in the European institutions in Europe.
Rosemarie has degrees in Irish and English Literature, and philosophy from Trinity College Dublin, an M.Litt on the nature poet Patrick Kavanagh, and a diploma in psychology from NUI.

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