Hennessy Poems of the month: Monasteraden microclimate

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Here is where the seasons change
from house to house, road to road,
winter reaches out from the lake
and holds us to her, cold but close.

We are swaddled in fog
or lavished with ice,
her breath is whispers
and her hands are white,

around her cuffs and hems
the felt fabric stiffens,
grass creeps, crinkles,
and lace winds us in,

binding us all long after
the next village has dissolved.
Stilled in her arms,
we are still solid.

My house

This was the last look at the land,
here where they stood in the wind
and waited, looking down the bog
impatient for a plume of steam
blooming along the narrow-gauge track,

for the doors to open and shut
them in, on the way to the junction
with the big city line,
they say they’ll be back
and don’t know yet it’s a lie,

waiting, pacing, lifting cases,
hoarding in their eyes
the light off the lake, the way
the trees sway,
and all the softness of hills, birds and sky,

carrying their cargo inside;
the entirety of life, who they are,
into the trembling train and away,
far across seas, roads and cities,
into new lives, old age, and death.

For many, here was the last place they left,
waiting on this platform
for change to come, some giddy,
some grieving, leaving
home.

Sleepless Lough Gara

In the dark
the Lough is singing,

a glockenspiel choir
of arctic geese.

Squeezing through
the bedroom window

easing bubbles
of orb notes gather

and drift in clusters
across black space.

Ballooning nearer
the music – bursts –

A snowstorm of feathers
melts on my face.

Jessamine O Connor is working on a collection of poems centred around Lough Gara. She has self-published two chapbooks with the help of an artist’s bursary, and is widely published in journals, most recently Agenda; Crannog; Incubator; Ink Sweat & Tears; Shot Glass Journal; Poetry NZ and The Roscommon Herald. She has won the iYeats and the Francis Ledwidge awards, and been shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award amongst others. Founder and facilitator of The Hermit Collective art/music/poetry ensemble, and the weekly Wrong Side of the Tracks Writers, this year she is also judging the New Roscommon Writing award.

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