Another week has fled and here we are with more poems. We are glad to welcome Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons, Joe Murray, Eileen Carney Hulme, and J. A. Sutherland. Many thanks to these four poets and to all the poets who have contributed up to now.
There are some miracles here, there is loss, there is memory, a hill walk on Cold Moss, a visit from a priest intending condolence, a statue of the Virgin above a city. Variety, but something that holds them all together.
Four or five poems a week is a lot of good poetry to find. Send us your previously published poems – see the first post in the January archive which gives full instructions.
Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons
From St. Michael and the Peril of the Sea
Your path is still before you, and say it leads you
onto the great strand of Magheraroarty with a friend;
the day bright and the water bright in the storm winds
Inisboffin bright then dark under swift clouds –
and you know your nature is to reach for another,
is to love as best you can. It’s a risk,
you know it because the voices of the dead,
the voices of past love have reached a crescendo in the storm
but here it is and maybe wrong-headed –
you reach your hand out and he touches and holds.
First published Salmon Poetry: 2009
A Short Journey
A hill walk from Allershaw Lodge 27th March 1993 with Jack Withers
1700 feet up on Cold Moss.
Calum, Catriona, Jack & me.
These three stop as my
city lungs gasp for air.
They could go on, but
good companions always wait
for a slower friend.
There is talk of ale & grouse,
& poems of grouse;
of the winter hares seen
scurrying along barely visible sheep trails.
As my chest heaves I reflect
the bleakness of these barren hills,
once covered in thick woodland.
I think of Scotland;
to the north the Great Forest of Caledon,
hulls of long sunk ships;
timbers of forgotten mansions;
ashes of a million bonfires –
To the south Jedforest – cut down to deprive
reivers of hideyholes.
The only things growing here, now,
are sheep, a large woolly occupation force.
the new reivers!
Robbing us of land;
robbing the land of binding grass.
2 minutes now
& my breathing is more regular.
200 feet to the top,
the other side
to the narrow gully.
Then it’s up Lowther Hill where,
from the top we will see our goal,
a mile & a half distant –
a village which boasts
the highest Inn in Scotland.
An Inn, we are soon to discover,
that has no beer.
Written in 1993, it is contained within the short collection Ruchazie Moon and some other poems published by Neruda Press 1998. and previously in Open World (the journal of Open World Poetics), Issue 3 1994.
Eileen Carney Hulme
When The Moon Turns
That was the day I had words
with the priest –
something and nothing really
he was expecting tea
and I didn’t want
sympathy, or the knot of his tongue
as cloud prowled through Venetian blinds
turning everything grey
your life mirrored
in the one cup that sits
on the draining board,
small loaf, unfinished, blowing
mould in the bread-bin
the towel in the bathroom
that I fold and unfold, pressing it
against my chest, as though you
could be squeezed out of it
so we might have
one last conversation
when all living things are
singing, dancing, best dressed
for the occasion
the moon bearing smiles
the stars glittering hearts
and we will open the wardrobe
take out that box of memories –
humming waves will begin to roar
and we will laugh until our cheeks wet.
I walk from room to room
like a stray dog
catching its breath.
From the 2010 collection The Space Between Rain published by Indigo Dreams.
J A Sutherland
The Virgin’s Song Photo: the author
Based on La Vierge d’Alsace – Emile-Antoine Bourdelle
In summertime the haar
descends on triple spires;
in autumn, icy frost.
A shawl veils bitter perfume;
shields her from dust
as blossom wafts desires.
Amid the changing weather
and all she once thought lost
The Alsace Virgin lifts aloft
her holy wriggle of a child against
a neon claim that glows
ambivalent, agnostic in the dusk.
She sees beyond the stars, the signs,
the traffic lights of scientific certainty,
a woven, sculpted pattern of eternity.
No miracles? That’s where you’re wrong.
Thus magnified, the child with open arms
– a miracle of love – becomes her song.
First published on the Inky Fingers website as part of their ‘virtual open mic’ held in 2013. That same year, the poem was awarded special merit in the Scottish National Galleries Inspired? Get Writing! Competition and was performed at the National Galleries event.