Grieving in May | 3.

The last one, and perhaps the one that hurts the most; my younger sister and one of my best friends ever. Thank you for reading these poems; For me, May is time set aside for remembrance.

FRANCES

Here I will rest

My ashes falling

Into swirls of bog-brown water

In Spring perhaps

The river quiet

And the birds gone mad

My ghost will hover –

A shape in powdered white

Casting chills on my attendants

Willows hang their leaves

Across the rush of water

Such an airy, fragile green

And I think of you –

Your airy, fragile spirit

Gone out of turn before me

Our childhood memories

All lop-sided now

A pulse of anger yet –

Why aren’t you here!

You should be here!

The mystery of your absence

Plagues me

I kneel beside your grave

Bend low to sense your soul

Breathe in the smell of earth.

ÉALÚ BINN | SWEET ESCAPE from Minus One

When I was a girl, a long time ago, most people had very strict parents, and I remember so well, the feeling of being squashed and kept down – it was just how things were then. Every Summer, we went to an Irish College in Donegal. The first time I went, I was fourteen, I fell in love with everything about those holidays, and Donegal is still my favourite place.

Wet Sunday afternoons

Micheál Ó hEithir full-voiced

My father leaned to hear

Forbidding us to talk

We kept our heads down

Read our Enid Blytons

Visits to relations

Sit straight with ankles neat

Weak tea, not quite hot

Men who would be jolly

Women with their blouses

Buttoned to the nose

Restless, teenage years

Stultified, depressed

Hemmed in by the iron will

Of parents bent on purity

Chips at the harbour wall

A mortal sin

But ah – August in The Rosses

Let loose among na buachaillí*

Blood-red cheeks and sparkling eyes

Mascara thick and black

And lipstick for the céilí –

Bhí gaeilge fíor mhaith againn!**

     *the boys

**We were very good at Irish!

A Love Poem by Claudio Bertoni – translated from Chilean.

(I have looked on several sites but cannot find a title for this poem. (This poem reminds me of ancient poems translated from Irish, not in the sentiments but in the structure.)

I’d like to be a nest if you were a little bird.

I’d like to be a scarf if you were a neck and were cold.

If you were music, I’d be an ear.

If you were water, I’d be a glass.

If you were light, I’d be an eye.

If you were a foot, I’d be a sock.

If you were the sea, I’d be a beach.

And if you were still the sea, I’d be a fish, and I’d swim in

you.

And if you were the sea, I’d be salt.

And if I were salt, you’d be lettuce, an avocado, or at least a

fried egg.

And if you were a fried egg, I’d be a piece of bread.

And if I were a piece of bread, I’d be butter or jam.

If you were jam, I’d be the peach in the jam.

If I were a peach, you’d be a tree.

And if you were a tree, I’d be your sap . . .

And I’d course through your arms like blood.

And if I were blood, I’d live in your heart.

MELANIE

Tinted warm by rose and amber light

Melanie smiles and pouts her painted mouth

Exotic spider, webbed in scarlet silk

She wears the face of Venus, Helen, Circe

Drawing one-hour lovers to extol her grace

And wit. She lends her body, listens, comforts

Promises a paradise of lust

The door lets in the shocking light of day

Melanie leaves, her pockets full of gold

Her eyes are clean and cold and bold

And know the sorrows of the world.

Bones

A touch of colour and my face

Jumps into focus

Don’t look too close –

Disintegration has begun

And death will lend it speed

Until my bones are bare and

Waiting for the second coming

 (And won’t my pale bones

Jump and rattle

Expecting light and mercy

New flesh to cling and bring them

From the dark

No mercy from the scald of light

No paint can hide

The fright behind my eyes.

A SOAP-BOX and A POEM

God. It’s all so one-sided. Generally, we are careful not to offend those who believe in a religion, but shouldn’t that work both ways? I get very annoyed when someone asks me if I believe in god – as if god was a given, and you either believed in “him” or not. For me, there is no god or goddess or godhead to be believed in or otherwise and when I give this answer I get two different reactions:

Some people become defensive and really angry and begin to harangue you with arguments to prove the fact of a god; they tell you that one day you will know the truth and that they feel sorry for you. They tell you to look around you, at the wonders of nature, the intricacies of the human body etc.  

Or, they pretend to be amused; they wag a finger at you and laugh and say that god has not forgotten you; worst of all – they promise to pray for you. Their arrogance and complaisance and condescension, their bigotry and utter stupidity is incredible. and it never occurs to them that they might give offence. As my father used to say about these people – they’re as well raving there as in bed.

All the same, when I was a child I did have faith and here is my nostalgic poem:

THERE WAS A TIME 

In the dim, silent church

A glow of votive lamps

Fluttering blue and gold and red

Whispered prayers in corner shrines

Beneath the outstretched hands

Of painted saints

Beads clicking, slowly told

Sundays burst in glory

Sweet choir lifting voice

The Truth sang in my mouth

I filled my eyes with bright

And lustrous threads

The golden flame of candles

Veiling mysteries at the altar

The heavy scent of flowers

Inhaled security

And a weightless peace

In certain knowledge of hereafter

Our hearts were warm, absolved

Beloved of our maker

And safe in the house of God.