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The Mare Spikes a Glassy Loch, and: The Animal Room, and: Ghosts

From: Éire-Ireland
Volume 48, Issue 3&4, Fall/Winter 2013
pp. 310-312 | 10.1353/eir.2013.0025

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

The Mare Spikes a Glassy Loch, and: The Animal Room, and: Ghosts

The Mare

spikes a glassyloch–Foot,FOOT, FOOT!—and thenshe crashesheadlonginto it

hot-blooded andentirely live,the crack of thunderin her ears


with kneeshigh-stepping,long-lashed eyesablink,the marespikes a glassyloch

her mindconceives forever

But Skies Pass,

the hoof-browned watersclear [End Page 310] and the mare setsfoot, footfoot, footagainstthis crumpled mirror—

Noton your nelly, sir!—

and is gone like a bulletacross the moor,sweat rivering her pelt

The mare, the chill loch waters

The Animal Room

Kingdom: Animalia; Phylum: Chordata; Class: Mammalia; Order; Carnivora; Family: Canidae; Tribe: Vulpini. Latterly an inhabitant of cities, the fox failed quickly, like the carrier pigeon. Last known sighting: Glasgow, 2023. Entry into the ‘red’ list for species threatened with extinction, 2021. Ate rats, rabbits, and chickens. Hunted for centuries by farmers, the fox became a popular figure in the urban centres, where it gained shelter and could sometimes be tamed. Here is a photograph of one begging in a TESCO car-park (location un-named). This one’s stealing food from a plate. See the cheeky glint in his eye? The shift from a culture of blame to a culture of acceptance came late; experts speculate that, had it changed sooner, they might have survived. Hit the button, and watch the fox’s tail light up, revealing it to this house-wife: she is afraid it is going to enter the house and savage her children. She’s carrying a mobile phone. In myth, the fox was a trickster; also a familiar and a messenger to the gods. You have ten minutes to write a poem. The buzzer will let you know when it’s time to move on. [End Page 311]


As lines are steered through language,and feet tread roomsthough we cannot hear their bitter patter,and we follow the tracks of tyresthrough mist-thrown fieldsto the rushes at the water’s edgewhich won’t, to human eyes,separate themselves from their reflections,cross-hatching like the shadesthat muster a single hue,somebody is surely steering you,riderless thoroughbred pinnedto open air above the wall,on out into the lake’s electric blue. [End Page 312]

Miriam Gamble

Miriam Gamble was born in 1980 and grew up in Belfast. Her first collection, The Squirrels Are Dead, was published by Bloodaxe in 2010 and won a Somerset Maugham Award; her second, Pirate Music, is forthcoming in 2014. She teaches Creative Writing by Online Learning at the University of Edinburgh.