New Irish Writing: March 2019’s winning poems
Black Madonna and At Sea by Colette Colfer; Universe Inside and Geography of the Afterlife by Lynn Caldwell
Colette Colfer. Photograph: Dave Manser/Vitamin Creative
I found her at the back of a Dublin church,
high up in a niche, the centre piece
of a white marble altar shrine. She was carved
in oak, flanked by angels and gold mosaic, facing west,
cloaked. She wore a silver crown and was a pole star
of darkness, a pendulum pivot centre of stillness.
I wanted to climb up and into her insides, her back
hollowed out as a once upon a time pig trough disguise
when she had to hide face down in the dirt to survive,
but I sat still and felt my black womb beat come alive.
This double bed in dim light is a boat
floating us under a clear sky
on a sea of sleep.
I want to fold this moment closed
and stay here in my white linen sheets,
My love my owl my downy brown
warm beside me in the prow
that’s pointing towards morning.
When daylight breaks you will be gone
and all I want
is to keep holding on.
Colette Colfer lectures part-time in world religions and ethics at Waterford Institute of Technology. She previously worked in print and broadcast journalism and has won a number of national awards for her radio documentaries. She runs the Spokes series of poetry/open-mic nights in Phil Grimes pub.
brought her gallstones home
from the hospital in a jar.
Marbled crimson and navy,
some curving smoothly
others pocked with tiny craters,
they rattled when I held the glass to the light,
like polished stones from the sea
or miniature planets,
a universe inside her.
beyond her arm’s reach,
we flowed outward from her,
spinning our own orbits,
drawing the lines
between our own constellations.
Geography of the Afterlife
a changed landscape:
burn scars, or gashes
where buildings once stood.
Sometimes a whole stand of trees is felled,
The wind blows thin, sharp,
straight through crannies
in unfamiliar walls.
Yet you can see
in other directions:
far hills that you never noticed,
Lynn Caldwell’s work has been published in The Antigonish Review, Pier Magazine, and Proem Canada and has featured on Sunday Miscellany. She was a runner up in Aesthetica’s Creative Writing Award 2017, has a BA in creative writing from the University of Victoria, Canada and blogs at kennedystreet.wordpress.com. Lynn lives in Dublin.