‘Briar Notes’ and other poems by Marian Kilcoyne



When I saw you, the earth went silent
and the chattering birds sawed off their
beaks. The breeze hushed and gulped into
itself. If there was a cicada, it choked on a
stone. The trees donned black tie and
straightened up while the mouse, mole, and hedgehog
died in their sleep. The fox darted further into the
amaranthine garden, nose quivering, inhaling fright.
When I saw you, the moon strangled the sun, then
spat upon the stars. Now, see what you have done.
First published in The Frogmore Papers (ed. Jeremy Page).



Since I saw the girl who does not eat,
or trade in food currency, to keep the
breath even, or the gaze straight. Since
then. Since then ago to now, I cannot
bear to watch a robin hopping nervously
on skinny legs, or jaunting around the
patio, perilously balanced.
Averting my eyes from the bird, I think
of her. No part of her was right. I wondered
if when she crossed her clanking legs, she felt
her skeletal reality, but there was no room in
her for thoughts. None. Her spider web being
flushed all joy from me that day. How heavy her
head must be, I thought.
First published in Cyphers (ed. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Macdara Woods).


Briar Notes

Faster than light or sound
the night star slinked, arced
and shot to a spot in the
clayground, festooned with
spiky plant.
When my time comes, I want
to slink, arc and shoot to bog
and botanist paradise. My only
witness, the white line of the
shore and the visitor fox holding
his breath.
First published in Prelude, NY (ed. Robert C.L. Crawford,
Stu Watson


Liebeslied *

Marsh brown fields clutch bog cotton
in fairy clusters, while the Heron lands.
Its harsh ‘kaark’ a battle cry, shaving
peace from a hazy afternoon. In a moment, you
are born over and over again to this Atlantic
refuge with its teeming silver hues; safe place & padlock.
Close the eyes now to sounds of breaking waves
on the shore. The smell of it, the teasing umami taste
of it on lips forming words. The commotion.
*Love song. From the German
First published in Prelude, NY (ed. Robert C.L. Crawford,
Stu Watson)


The Heart Uncut

It’s strange how you sleep well now,
twice removed from land and self.
Strange how the prairie of your face
eludes me. Lately I wish you well, or
as well as mint beetles are liked by
many. With detached regard.
Stranger still, the way time holds you
and carries you alive through owlish
afternoons, your breath a lattice flung
upon a thousand vistas. Strange how a
fearful ego can remain intact, the
heart uncut. But listen, I want to know
if your spirit has healed? Have you
aligned peace with being, and have
I made myself clear? Finally.
First published in Right Hand Pointing, US (ed. Dale Wisely).
Briar Notes and other poems  © Marian Kilcoyne

Marian Kilcoyne is an Irish writer based on the west coast of Ireland. She has, in the past, been a teacher at senior level, worked professionally in education and management for an Aids Organization, and reviewed fiction and non-fiction for the Sunday Business Post, Ireland. She attended the Seamus Heaney Centre summer school at Queens University Belfast in 2013. She has been published or is forthcoming at Prelude (US), The Louisville Review (US), Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria), Crannog (IRL), Ofi Press (Mexico), Frogmore Papers (UK), Cyphers( IRL), Apalachee Review (US), Foliate Oak Literary Magazine (US,) New Contrast (Cape Town), Quiddity (US), Right Hand Pointing (US), Grey Sparrow Journal (US), Off The Coast (US), The Galway Review (IRL), The Liner (US), Into The Void (IRL), Roanoke Literary Journal (US), The Rockhurst Review (US), Banshee Literature (IRL), The Catamaran Literary Reader (US), The Worcester Review (US), The Stonecoast review (US), The Main St Rag, (US), Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal, (US), and others. She was short listed for the 2017 Dermot Healy International prize for poetry.

Marian Kilcoyne’s website


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