“Homage To Kinsale” and other poems by Linda Ibbotson

In the Absence of Boundaries –

The Third Movement

A note from the other side of silence
hangs in mid-air blue.
Undefined, intangible, unchartered,
neither lengthening nor shortening
or pulled by gravity’s umbilical chord.
I wonder if the wind will carry it in her wings,
perhaps into another realm?
Is it transcending, tentatively balanced on the sacred,
votive, perhaps coiling around a prayer wheel
or roaming the streets of Manhattan
to dance with Ksenia in various shades of black and white?

It has no place for concealment, no obstacle to circumvent.
Is it an apparition on centre stage with no curator,
a muted tone on a Chagall,
lowering its pitch to a finely tuned line of cerulean blue
or does it linger in an atelier in Antibes
where, ascending from a counterpoint
it improvises with the light?
It does not hide in the mouth of frescoes
limed with cardinal red where it cannot speak of freedom
or in the narrow place where it cannot stretch
and where the light does not enter.

Sometimes, it weighs as heavy as a Caravaggio,
a magnum opus as dark as a requiem’s crown of thorns,
a dying cadence longing to flee from a penitentiary stave
to lightly play between the shadow and shadowless
in your visionary third eye, the eye between eyes
where those who listen, see,
and those who see, listen.

In the Absence of Boundaries—
The Third Movement

Was published in California Quarterly Volume 42 No. 3 September 2016 (Editor, Jeanne Wagner, President – John Forrest Harrell)
Levure littéraire. – Numéro 13 2017 Editor-in-Chief Rodica Draghincescu; founder and general director of Levure littéraire. Invited to submit by Editor Helene Cardona

The Paris Sketchbook –

Paris opened as a book under my skin.
‘A Moveable Feast’ Hemingway once said.
There is no war under my skin,
only art that sometimes speaks of war.
In Eglise Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre the first six notes
of Bach’s Marcello ‘Adagio’ chime with Notre Dame.
A note cannot play without the air
and the air was filled with hibiscus.
Paris is a panacea, my alter ego blossoming
as sweet as Spring on Sunday’s stroll
in Jardin du Luxembourg, with Antonia.
Along the Seine, unblemished bathers
in July’s La Plage, promenade next to drowsy
heat of the afternoon; right and left bank booksellers
and posters of Le Chat Noir.
Pont Neuf, a synapse, lay between.

I watched the way the light fell
and I fell into myself
and it felt good and it felt strong.
I watched sober shadows from second story windows
at La Palette etched into lithographs
at Musée d’Orsay, in the same room
as Madamoiselle Chanel’s nonchalant eyes,
half sleeping, half remembering
the protagonists at Rue de Seine
more than a generation ago.

I wandered into antiquity, a mileu of veined alleyways
leaning into the bow of Île Saint-Louis.
I searched for lost time; a la recherché du temps perdu,
with Proust and Jean-Paul Sartre,
unconscious Belle Époque minds unleashed
along with expressos and coq au vin at Café de Flore.

I turned away from the rifled gendarmes and unrest,
opened my book and began to sketch.

The Paris Sketchbook—
Published in Levure littéraire. – Numéro 13 2017 Editor-in-Chief Rodica Draghincescu; founder and general director of Levure littéraire, Invited by Editor Helene Cardona

The Paris Sketchbook—

The Art of Seeing

There is a place
I sit and sketch the still shade
before the light fades
in and out of restless dusk.

There is a place
where broken shadows rendezvous with La Boheme
and Chopin’s Étude in C minor.
Falling as arpeggios,
weightless snow weighed heavily on cold bones of Paris,
impermanence melted white on soundless white
audible only at the edge of silence.

At Place de la Concorde,
Cleopatra’s needle stitches clouds,
an easterly wind severs flesh and pleached limes,
paper thin leaves shudder into chaos,
to bind winter wounds the colour of blood.

I sketch in grey graphite, the colour of stone
feel the chill of a revolution in my bones.

At Notre-Dame,
knarled gargoyles gather rain and Gregorian chants,
understand and mis-understand
the things that were, things that are
and l’ave nir, things to come.

It is cold at Père Lachaise as I watch the city of light tremble
and I wonder, would we see more clearly in the dark?

The Paris Sketchbook—
The Art of Seeing
Published in Levure littéraire. – Numéro 13 2017 Editor-in-Chief Rodica Draghincescu; founder and general director of Levure littéraire. Invited by Editor Helene Cardona


A Celtic Legacy

Rising from Celtic mists,
calloused white boned fingers
on goatskin
unravel lyrical etchings
on ancient stone
that weeps beneath wounds
swathed in redolent moss
and pink veined thrift.

Stone that cleaves to breath
from Uilleann pipes
shaped to spear the horizon
of Atlantic blue,
carrageen and crab.
Flint and turf furrow
Skellig spines
that once housed the faithful
and guillemots.

Ribs of currachs
kneel before
Ulysees and crosses
scoured by silent storms as
ancestral skin stretched
to beckon retreating tides.

Anchored between the sacred
and calloused white boned fingers
the Book of Kells
lay bleeding.

A Celtic Legacy
Published in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review Issue XX 2014 Editor-in-Chief Sonnet Mondal and Guest Editor Helene Cardona
Eastern World – Editor-in-chief Asror Allayarov
‘A Celtic Legacy’ in addition was read on radio in France and Ireland, performed at Theatre des Marronniers, Lyon, the village of Saint Pierre de Chartreuse and 59 Rivoli, Paris by Irish actor and musician Davog Rynne

Beat of the Bodhran

I hear your hands.
A benediction of skin to skin,
a mantra of ancient bone
rising above celestial scars
and swan sons of Lir.

I hear your hands
beneath the solstice;
acoustics ascending
from wings of sorrow
as Tara’s breath exhales,
lifting her emerald veil,
meadowsweet and whitethorn
woven to crown the halos of pilgrims.

In the distance,
shadows awaken
and dance with eyes
that speak of legends.
in the half light of an eclipse
time falls like snow
on Sliabh Luachra,
cold flesh bound
in sacred stone
as Danu’s limbs
coil around the limbs
of the immortal.

I hear your hands
In the heartbeat of ravens,
echoing in the womb
of the Holy Well
and the gentle whispers
of the wind that
cradle a lament.

I imagine laughter,
binding the wounds of heroes
turning blood into
petals of scarlet flax
as if fragility
becomes fertile.
On the street of the stone ringfort
I see streams of colour
in a blind pipers eyes.
Through each scarred hue
a solitary reed softly sings.
Behind, a damselfly
opens its wings
to catch the colour
before it too
bows its head in prayer.

I hear your hands
as they slip between Atlantic blue,
each wave knowing its birth.
In time and out of time
the restless salt breeze
flies with wild geese.
in the rhythm of soft rain,
each drop remembers.

I hear your hands
in the flute song of the egret.
as Erin kneels before the ephemeral,
the sanctuary
of the known and the unknown,
her mossy gown
unfolding half forgotten myths.

I hear your hands,
a heartbeat
on an incandescent moon of skin,
a rhythm
in the wintered hands of a scythe,
in the footfall of red deer,
and in the light of the eternal.

And as I watch Celtic mists rise
above ancient stone,
I feel both a longing
and a belonging
to this land, this people, these words
that linger as a mantra,
in the warmth of solace
beneath the silent boundary
of my skin.

Beat of the Bodhran
Published in Asian Signature 30/01/2016

Homage to Kinsale

As nights obsidian curtain lifted,
the skylark heralds the dawn chorus
in my demesne of duck egg blue.
From my balcony,
a mirage of matchstick masts
navigate the thirsty mouth of the harbour,
and my skin drinks it all in.
Sometimes, when I bury myself, in myself.
never quite reaching the point when thinking stops,
I unlatch the door, drink tea, and savour wild berry tart
at Poets Corner,
or stroll to the Spaniard
where the swans dance to Francesca’s mandolin,
and in my solitude I feel quietly content.
I look at life in black and white at The Gallery,
buy a chiffon scarf from Stone Mad,
peacock feathers with hand stitched beads
and fly it like a kite on the beach.
After sundown you’ll find me in The Black Pig
sipping a glass of red,
satisfied with the feeling that finally,
I have arrived.

Homage to Kinsale
Published in Irish Examiner 27/10/2015, Iodine Spring/Summer Issue XVI 2015 Editor- Jonathan K. Rice, Eastern World- Editor Asror Allayarov, Douglas Post Issue 1216 w/e 30/04/2016, Live Encounters December 2016 Editor- Mark Ulyseas


Linda KinsaleLinda Ibbotson was born in Sheffield, England, lived in Switzerland and Germany and travelled extensively before finally settling in County Cork, S. Ireland in 1995. A poet, artist and photographer her work has been published in various international journals including Levure Litteraire, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Iodine, Irish Examiner, Asian Signature, Live Encounters, Fekt and California Quarterly. Linda was also invited to read at the Abroad Writers Conference, Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, Butlers Townhouse, Dublin, and Kinsale, Ireland. One of her poems ‘A Celtic Legacy’ was performed in France at Theatre des Marronniers, Lyon, the village of Saint Pierre de Chartreuse and 59 Rivoli, Paris by Irish actor and musician Davog Rynne. Her painting Cascade has been featured as a CD cover.

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