“Night Music” and other poems by Mary Shine


Walk a side line,
stepping at a right pace,
resisting the intoxication
of distasteful rhetoric.

Steady the mind
for the unprecedented 

        a deepening unknown;
a line I never thought could be,
        has been crossed.

Illiberal States

clutter of voices
volume of noise
a myriad of words

exposed — an ugly new world

If only it could be 
the week before all this uproar 
snapped at my heels
like a snarling dog
that wants to take me down.

I might have had time 
to rearrange
the furniture in my house.

I might have set up 
a barrier or two 
at back and front doors.

I might have put locks 
on my windows,
chains on the gate -
keeping the barking brute outside.

 		I might still feel uncrushed– 
                safe within walls of a liberal sanity.

Colouring Our Way Forward 

Plum comes to mind,
a deep down bruise.
It’s taking over my walls.
It’s blocking ease,
bringing a swirl of losses.

I sense it — out on the streets.
I hear it echoed across
too many places.

It’s coming with me
as I move through the days.

The trees let go of their leaves
making possible regeneration—
      the coming again of spring
 but our bruises have festered.

A bad time is coming 
if we fall to this purple stain
of our madness—
fail to leave the swamp

move freely again.

      And back to the prelude—
      then progress—
      not a plunge 
      into a reactionary crackdown.

dear faces

I do not dwell on them sufficiently—
distracted, fretful, uncomprehending
of their presence in my life.

Busy, frittering away much that is dear to me.
Each year a bagatelle of distractions
as I fail to grasp the magic of now 
and those dear faces,

No two the same— 
each invested with their own light and shade
their special mood, their way of living,
their own response to the mystery that is life.

Each of us has a gallery to stand in awe before.
They gaze back at us in the same way
if we open our eyes to the incomparable
beauty of those we love.

Night Music

Night music - varied as life itself,
going back to well-known lullabies
or to an orchestra of sound
to carry you through your dream score.

On other nights a cacophony of noise 
or just a bellow emerges to wake 
even the most sound of sleepers.

Then there are those tragic hours
that go to the heart of everything
when night plays your sadness 
on instruments of perfect harmony.

Finally one long drawn out note
on the string of a cello or violin
and your tears well— and fall—

Lines and other poems are © Mary Shine

Mary Shine was born in Templemore, Co Tipperary, in 1956 but spent most of her adult life in Dublin. She has a degree in Social Science and a Master’s in Women’s Studies from UCD. Her first poems were written in 1990 and she continued with this creative process for the next decade, while also making connections with the Dublin literary scene. The Rathmines Writers group was of particular importance as it provided her with opportunities to share and publish her work. In 2001 she decided to relocate and moved to Sligo. Her writing was interrupted by the challenges of this upheaval and it was 2016 before she again began writing her poems. In 2017 she published her first collection, A Sense Of A Life. She hopes that the long silence is finally over and that her writing life will continue.

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