“Words Like Stars” and other poems by Roisin Ní Neachtain


His Janus head looks both ways,
Double-jointed at the neck.

The honey juice of the persimmon
Bursts from their mouths,
Babbling tales in frothy tones.

A river parts his muscles.

The knot in his guts is split.

Inimical flesh in the dour night,
Unborn in blackness,
You seek, four-eyed, for memories that the oil burned bright.


The Moon of Pride

The skies are thrown in a vernal frenzy.

We are strangers again
And tremble in rounded movements.

We dance through the open of a new obscurity.

Our voices imagine the salt of shame,
Still insisting between lines for honesty.

Pale as the moon of pride,
He plays our hands
And knits fingers into spirits.

Ashes ingrain the shadow of his feet
And blunder through each sorrow of my mind.


Words Like Stars

How they flow unformed
Then fix themselves like the stars
Shivering and held up

And I
And they
Staggering and squawking
Sweating and squabbling

Night and day

Wobbling words




Corrosive mantles
Wrought to a stain

Stain us
Stain the water to the earth
Hold these shapes in stasis

Their lungs sooty and quivering
How they wake songs in the trenches
And beg for absolution



I hear it now – alright?
The glass body shivering in its dress,
Its heartbeat manic-racing,
Thumping against the stones,
While your starved arms knock at my door,
While the roots play footsie in contempt …

How these sounds,
Your squirming skits,
Exhaled and exiled one at a time –
Though still sweet-smelling rags –
Rock me like lullabies.


At The Temple

Skim the voices,

Their radiance rising to an acousmatic litany –
And the other mirrors, an afterthought, skewed suffering,
Latching on to

Melodic pattern nesting

It transcends

On a perch of bamboo

The viscous asphalt limits each wet corner

Dive sacrifice

The gods sheaf their poor prayers,
Partition need from want,
Smoulder the paper gifts

Define my breath,
Its crystalline vowels,
Rictus of guilt,
Unlisten to my pleas.


The Flood

A ferrous river, the earth’s appointed transgressor,
Breaches wood,
Ribbon branching through houses, fields and cars.

Leaking into dark brine.

Your tight-laced breath forms an ellipsis,
The bees are noiseless above your new bed.

Wade deeper, low-slung secrets,
Demand retribution,
Stand still and ventilate,
Fastness, hearth, asylum.

Sore joints, sore words, sore teeth.
Crutched language.

Roll over caustic carcass,
Dismantled bones,
Flesh pried by water.

Break your sterile reflections.


Words Like Stars and other poems are © Roisin Ní Neachtain

Roisin Ní Neachtain is an emerging Irish poet and artist with Asperger’s. Her work is held in international private collections and she runs a blog featuring monthly interviews with women artists. She is currently working on her first collection of poetry.

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