“The Salted Woman” poems by Chris Allen

Root Stock

After P.W. Joyce

I am the Little Bush of the Dancing
near to the Little Village of the Whortleberries
not far from the Speckled Mountain
if you go by the Stepping Stones of Shadow
you find the Old Tree of the Cave
lying just beyond the Castle of the Wind
where a path on the Raven’s Mother
leads to the Shrubbery of the Streamlet
take the River Holm of the Buck Goat
when you meet the Round Hill of the Worms
in the Oak Grove of the Milk
as the trees skirt the Chalky Mountain
and just before Slipping to Hell
you arrive on a White Little Hill
after the Hill of Truth
where you see the Little Mountain of the Wind.

The Snuff Box

After Chekov

Every importance occupies your silence
No more than when I heard it yesterday
There is not a word for the same silence –
The snuff box is thrown from the stage
The ear attends far in excess of reason
To prove reality is constant in the wing –
Still we have not heard the trinket fall
While still the act portrays the sequent
Words rolled out to mingle into logic –
There is no mention of an errant force
So must we assume the catcher’s hand
And absent worlds exist to haunt us.


The Salted Woman

“Rohecrad do gemmaib glainib, gním ronglen-ón;
ba samail trá adaig ocus lá ‘na medón.
– Flann Manistrech
To dwell in a house so brightly gleaming
It was as if day and night were the same
Reality as history reduces to a pale script
With ordinary characters forgetting that
Well branched more ways feeding water
In its undisputed tides sweet and salted
Running clear until the lakes and rivers
Streamed in whole and mystical floods
The legendary abundance of oak and elk
Trout and salmon fed in the imagination
Wings folded over her thatched palaces
Now kept safe her quartered provinces
And a Holy Scripture in a riotous tongue
Curled about the names of the forgotten
Rings eerily in the psyche as real as want
Paced forgivingly for the old pagan flaws
Like a Sheela na Gig engorged in sub text
As a salty woman found before real gods
Her primordial salinity keeps to beginnings
The anonymous introspection of its muse
Her dividing cell among the hybrid script
Of curious constructions in historical lots
The bony exoskeleton invites the sweet
Vermillion of a stave and its divided line
Hoists a portal shadow on two outcast feet
Where the deft squat delivers of its people.

Root Stock, The Snuff Box, and The Salted Woman are © Chris Allen.

These poems are from a forthcoming collection The Salted Woman by Chris Allen. The poems are orphans from a forum once maintained by Poetry Ireland, until a decision to delete the forum was taken recently. I am delighted that these root poems from Allen’s collection have been rehomed with me on Poethead.  My thanks to Chris Allen for her generous gift. I am adding here a link to Forms; A Sampler by the poet.

Poetry Ireland Forum 2000-2013 




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