Hennessy New Irish Writing: January 2017’s winning poets

‘Fixed Vortex’ and ‘Ingrained’ by Ilyana Kuhling; ‘Thumbtacks’ by Maresa Sheehan

Maresa Sheehan won first prize in the Oliver Goldsmith International Literary Festival Poetry Competition

Maresa Sheehan won first prize in the Oliver Goldsmith International Literary Festival Poetry Competition

 

Thumbtacks

thumbtack braille
on your emptied
notice board,

the larvae of Woodworm
could have left the same
marks as you,

pressing in
your scientific references,
your normal ranges,

pointing at it
as you explained
to students.

You died four
weeks after
you retired,

I rub my face
over the dents
to hear you,

the woodworm larvae
emerge after three to five years
and seek the light.

Maresa Sheehan won first prize in the Oliver Goldsmith International Literary Festival Poetry Competition. She had a poem Highly Commended and another Shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize in 2017. She was shortlisted for the Cuirt New Writing Poetry Competition 2015 (Final 3) and Highly Commended in Over The Edge New Writer of the Year International Poetry Competition and for Poet Meets Painter Hungry Hill Writing Poetry Competition 2014. Her poems have been published in Poetry Ireland Review, Blue Max Review, Boyne Berries and All Good Things Begin. She is working towards her first collection. She works as a vet and lives in Co Carlow with her husband and son. Members of the Carlow Writers’ Co-operative are a constant source of help and inspiration

Ilyana Kuhling is an Irish-Canadian poet based in Limerick
Ilyana Kuhling is an Irish-Canadian poet based in Limerick

Fixed Vortex

Feeble fingers have collapsed into themselves
her fist, like an infant’s
lies limp in her lap

As if made of marble
the grip won’t relax
unyielding

“What is it that you
are holding on to?”

I take her thumb
try to unfurl the claw, the nails
digging into her palm
Stigmata

She must
be searching for some sensation
some sting of pain
something

“Hello”

I am watching two blue planets
to see if they
notice the sound

If gravity can pull them,
alter the orbit,
and turn them toward me

“Do you know who I am?”

They are empty planets
They don’t move

She is here
and not here

Stuck
in the fixed vortex
of this
in between

Ingrained

We took you to mass today
I can’t remember
the last time you spoke

it could have been a year ago

and yet,
the words of the rosary are on your lips
a softest kiss

you can’t forget

Ilyana Kuhling is an Irish-Canadian poet based in Limerick, and a lover of all things spoken word. This year, she won the British Psychological Society’s 2017 poetry competition and her poem Multitudes was published in the August 2017 issue of The Psychologist. Ilyana’s poetry has also been published in Silver Apples, Artis Natura and Dodging the Rain, and she was featured in the Poetry Day Ireland 2017 Mix-Tape, curated by Lagan Online and Poetry NI. Her favourite poets include Sylvia Plath and Elizabeth Bishop, and she firmly believes that a good cup of tea can solve almost anything.