New Irish Writing: May 2019’s winner

For Mum on Her First Birthday as a Widow, Taking Stock, Sound Sleep and String Theory by Nicola Geddes

Nicola Geddes

Nicola Geddes


For Mum on Her First Birthday as a Widow
I have built a boat from the stones of the beach
Waves will lap at the hull
until the tide cradles it, buoyant

Don’t mind the gales of November
New Year’s floods, or even
the snows of March

For we are neither shore nor sea
but a sliver of new moon
cut from the darkness of the night sky

Taking Stock
The fox of preparation
and the worry rabbit
arrive every night
settle in, put the kettle on,
and quietly burgle my house.

Each morning I rise
dark eyed and pale
to count my losses.

Sound Sleep
(A childhood between two pianos)

A school night; homework done
Mum in the front room
her freckled arms glide above the keys
her fingers dance Preludes and Fugues

Follow me through the kitchen,
Bach will recede but the centuries are fluid
We can time travel by just walking through the house
The future approaches as we brush our teeth

Next to our bedroom the sculptor of sound
in his egg-box lined garage
turns motifs around in his hands
plays with colour, finding keys to other worlds

Snug in our bunks, we are lulled
by the harmonies of the next century
Certain of our place in this story
we glide through galaxies in our sleep.

String Theory
Within this body, a song of generations
From hand to bow, a brush of hair
A finger’s touch to change the pitch
The music of spheres, our song of songs

Within this scroll, a tale of time
My face reflected in the varnish
Distorted over the swell of the belly
Lost in the rosin dust under the bridge

And within each string, a connection
Tiny truths like suns.

Nicola Geddes, originally from Scotland, has been based in Co Galway for the past 25 years, where she works as a cellist and tutor. Her writing has been published in Crannog, the Galway Review, Crossways and Skylight 47, as well being featured on Poethead. In 2017 Nicola’s poems received a Special Commendation from the Patrick Kavanagh Award, and Highly Commended in 2018 The Over the Edge New Writer of the Year