DAYS LIKE TODAY
I am not old, but I am worn down and frayed at the edges
and I wonder at what age will I say:
take me away —
let me shed my skin,
release all my atoms—
let them fall apart still sparking,
show me the place where they can separate
and stop their spinning—
de-fused, diffuse, drift off,
sink into the moist earth,
seep into the pulsing womb
where bandicoots probe while we sleep—
soil-dappled snouts carrying bits of me
away under the dark branches,
glinting with the watchful eyes of possums,
strung with the spectres of escaped cicadas;
show me where there will be no more
aching bones and world weariness—
where I can gladly give up my ghost.
First published in ‘The Remembered Arts Journal’, December 2016.
I see it in you
the shadow of that place
whose memory you cannot erase
there are others I know:
I love, have loved,
see in them no trace of it there—
they are wide open
doors into rooms
with no empty chairs,
no bags unpacked
from unplanned visits
to this landscape we’d rather not know—
this country you get to
from over an ocean of
black broken glass,
whose language is silence
fished from the deepest abyss,
echoed in shells washed up on a twilit shore,
lapping to shadow
the shapings of faces
we have loved, ever love—
these tracings you cannot erase:
mementos of where
you get to from over
an ocean of black broken glass,
whose language is silence—
this nation whose border is loss.
First published in ‘DASH’, the literary journal of California State University, in May 2019.
LEANING TOWARDS SOLAS
Beneath the soaring spire,
row upon row flickering
with the wind at each entry.
to genuflect and join the waiting
throng tiered like the small white candles
they would light for a penny each
to wash away their sins.
After the stroke,
my grandfather’s frozen half
my grandmother, hands knotted
before the Child of Prague on the mantle.
Fervent whispers over
the dipping flame
in a chipped cup.
My mother’s tears hissing
into the tealight
beneath her parents’ picture
—young again, tending
their tea roses; lit from within
like the crystal beads trembling
between my mother’s wringing fingers—
my gift to her from Rome.
Beneath a soaring eye,
row upon row drifting
with the wind at each entry—
to wash away the aching—
bobbing like small white candles
as my sons race in streaming sunlight
after scattering petals for grandma.
Note: ‘Solas’ means ‘light’ in the Irish language.
Shortlisted for the ACU Prize for Poetry 2019 and first published in the ‘ACU Prize for Poetry 2019’ anthology.
A scattering of blue skies.
A pocketful of hope.
The love of one good soul.
The promise of a world made miraculously less cruel for my children.
The smell of the sea.
All that I desire—
on the long walk home.
An earlier version of this poem was first published in ‘where the lost things go’ (Salmon Poetry 2017).
Anne Casey. Originally from the west of Ireland and living in Australia, Anne Casey is author of two poetry collections—out of emptied cups (2019) and where the lost things go (2017). A journalist, magazine editor, legal author and media communications director for 30 years, her work ranks in leading national daily newspaper, The Irish Times‘ Most Read and is widely published internationally—The Irish Poetry Reading Archive (James Joyce Library, University College Dublin), The Irish Times, The Canberra Times, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Tahoma Literary Review (forthcoming), Australian Poetry Anthology (forthcoming), Quiddity, Entropy, apt, The Murmur House, Barzakh (State University of New York), DASH (California State University), The Stony Thursday Book, FourXFour (Poetry Northern Ireland), Westerly Magazine and Cordite Poetry among many others. She has won/shortlisted for poetry prizes in Ireland, Northern Ireland, the UK, the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia.