Hennessy poems of the month: For Sale, Dublin Puzzle and Hooks & Eyes
Aoife Lyall, who is from Dublin, lives in the Scottish Highlands. Dividing her time between teaching and writing, she received a commendation in the Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2015 and has established a poetry group for adult writers
House for sale, 3 bed, 2 bath. Garage
and gardens. A quiet cul-de-sac in a
sought-after location. Whites included.
New owners will throw our home
from their house, shed
our memories, steam-clean
the winters’ colds and flu,
plaster over cut knees and grazes.
They will paint and recycle
first steps, lost teeth, pocket the spare
films and lost hours in the couch,
oil the creaking awkwardness of
family visits, iron out arguments, wash
dishes clean of dinner parties, picnics,
lazy Sunday breakfasts,
and weed out every bbq that stretched from day to
knowing they will sweep away
the dreams grown dusty underfoot,
disconnect the midnight phonecalls,
clear the pain
that blocked gutters,
flooded the garden.
The porous bag sliced through.
Sediment gathered in the corners.
We upend the pieces into the lid and bottom.
We shift through them, panning for edges, corners.
We kneel on the green felt kings use to play chess and
peer at each piece; inscrutable, divine, mysterious.
The gradations, lines, shadings, out of place –
the edges connect, the real work begins.
Some pieces fit easily, naturally,
matching colours, patterns, cross-hatchings,
letters, body parts, shapes: others
we come back to again and again –
resurfacing in the shoggled box like a guilty secret,
a prick of conscience, a broken promise –
a piece of cloud, a shadow, a joining piece –
rotated, beleaguered, threatened, coaxed.
It refuses to fit in any one place but its place.
It niggles, annoys, frustrates, creates
false hope of victory, until –
suddenly it clicks – that little cloud,
that shadow – there, there, there!
It fits, slips in among the other shapes,
glides and drops, first time.
The shape, complete.
And now, finished, it lies ignored.
Now, accepted, it attracts no attention.
Now, in its place, all mystery lost.
Hooks & Eyes
The 6:47 to Edinburgh.
The conductor looks for tickets,
It’s early – no rush – you’re one of us.
Returning with his trolley,
A night cap for your morning nap?
The mountains hem our secret path.
We glide through granite sleeves and folds.
The sun pulls fog from quilted fields
and with the dawn it slowly yawns
and curls its limbs around our carriage.
And I want to wake the girl nearby,
sleeping on her Primark bag: to shake her at the shoulder
and whisper –
‘Look at this.’