Poem of the week: from The Foundling Crib

A new work by Annemarie Ní Churreáin

By lamplight, an aged map of Dublin reveals the city
as preached by Swift,

scant lanes and alleys that run like ghost-veins pulsing
the blood of women

who once begged for bread and alms,
who cupped their palms to strangers

in Cutthroat Place. In Murdering Lane,
I look down along the black steps


of three centuries or more. I can hear the throb
of water rising out of ling and heather bogs.

Source is another word for church.
In Rome the poorest mothers left

infants by the Tiber and later, among the nets,
the fishermen found the tangled bones.

Did they lay these bones out as treasure?
Did they toss them back into water?

Every river knows the weight of hunger.
Anna Liffey gives us back our bodies.

The stories of all our mothers are written
on the inner walls of this city I call home.

Annemarie Ní Churreáin's debut collection Bloodroot was shortlisted for the DLR Strong Poetry Award. This week's poem is from The Foundling Crib, a sequence commissioned by the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan. The full sequence can be read at solsticeartscentre.ie