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  • Filíocht Nua: New Poetry
  • Anne Fitzgerald

Mass Rock at Glenstal

As I place my hands on the altar, a tingling slows the contours of my fingertips, wells-up its topography like an Ordnance Survey Sheet; number in relief, or when ink from an immigration pad at Shannon left a Hart’s Tongue-print like the fern before me all over this blessed flock wallpaper of ours; where I’ve traced and retraced times spent listening to family histories, the Rising, price of the pint and good weather for drying.


In the event of a nuclear accident potassium tablets is your only man. Remember, arm yourself: knitted gloves, scarf and hat will do the trick like gold-shot with green when sunlight hits an afternoon Martini, vodka gin lined, olive brimmed, salt figures equations out, out of nowhere, as if dust breath-blown into air. For movement California Syrup of Figs try and for chesty troubles rub Camphorate Oil into affected parts thoroughly then there’s poor man’s plaster not to mention d’avocado Epson Salts tin, d’red of Zubes and spearmint-blue of Vicks rubs deep seated coughs away with the birdies as if skies cleared by gunshot, nothing then silence turns a rustle of grass, a blade whistled between thumbs, a gamekeeper’s gamey eye thumbs ’n fingers his trigger happy long barrel cocked for the ready as a mallard webs it to water, past reeds and the one young poacher Jack breaths through, keeps stum, recalls weaving St. Bridget’s crosses as duck á la orange bears its own pellet cross . . . give us our daily trespasses . . . ’ers. [End Page 52]

Ryan Lacken of Lackabeg

Early on talk was he is off his trolley what with him out hammering heavy rain and all, in a rig-out fit for a duck, them Russian ones that Baltic tail-winds doest west-propel across the Atlantic to Booterstown, emerald breasted ripple-winds. When not charm’n birds from trees or bringing virgins up to speed he had that great honest touch of a tealeaf about him, so he did, light-fingering his conquests as if the Norman one, whispering sweet -nothings or sweet f-all if the truth be known. For d’most part they’d slip oak ’n ash under his lead, plant a peck on his sunny south whilst he did dip in and out of all in sundry to beat the band . . . on the run . . . no less, disseminating his little red ridings over his make-believe Sherwood when not up-ending a bottle of its finest over his curried chips of a Saturday after he lays upon his willow, goes to Bo-Peep; in such sleep, peep-shows run ninety to the dozen.

Pen Pal

From Calcutta you send seeds, stuck between onion skin aerogram leaves ’n copperplate curves of black Indian ink sealed with your fasting spit, that’s held its tongue across: the Himalayas, Kashmir, and the Caspian, till I peal it back all fingers ’n thumbs; it spills as if d’Ganges’ mouth into my lap. [End Page 53]

Feast of December Thirteenth

Into your field of vision, glazed over eyes like ones lost in veneration or Saint Lucy’s eyes offered on a plate; small cakes or biscuits eyeball shaped, all ceremonies of light as if that brightness just before snow.

Slow Motion

Now when you answer the phone a delay as if arms opening, greets me, clears the line your throat does, as your voice breaks a slur of a hell-low ever since you fell from d’head of the stair words have an El Greco elasticity or like a long jumper in-training stretches to break his last mark, your good bye-bye waves wraps themselves around me as if a drowning man’s grip. And like Galileo blinded by his own pure vision of the heavenly bodies you discover the apricot moon oscillates on its axis as it orbits the earth. [End Page 54]

Sights of Ithaca

Now what’s the Johnny-ma-gory with your plastic Christ on the dash -board, hanging on for dear green life,

as you take the road straight ahead to...