Poem of the Week: Hanging House in a Canal, by Mary O’Donnell

Mary O’Donnell.

Mary O’Donnell.


It lay on the other side,

the colour of country butter.

I longed to enter any way I could –

by door, window, chimney –

found it locked.

But there was a reflection,

clear as a mirror in the still waters,

the raised brows of dormer windows as it hung there,

upside down, the poking nose of the porch,

the comforting torso of walls.

I stripped off, knew immediately what to do,

dived, entered that beckoning house,

its bubbling whispers an embrace

as I burst through its porch reflection.

Now, within, I am drowning

in secrets, in the company of

water-rats, diving herons, grey roach

and crayfish.

With my own, as always.

This week’s poem is from Mary O’Donnell’s new collection, Massacre of the Birds (Salmon Press)