Poem of the week: Hibernating

A new poem by Aideen Henry

Poet Aideen Henry.

Poet Aideen Henry.


With four at home under eight

and a fifth hibernating

from the Belfast cold

she never heard the news.

Absorbed with meals and spills and cleans

and tears and washing

and dressing and feeding fires

and checking foreheads, tucking back in

and hugging tight,

she eased her way

around that house

in Balmoral Avenue

until Christmas passed and

the hope that I’d wait

till New Year rose and fell

then in she want to the Royal.

But I wouldn’t wait,

I wouldn’t show

my pinched face in her arms

on the New Year’s front pages.

Out I came on its eve

and along with the cooing and doting

of other women, came the news,

that four weeks before, JFK had been shot.

Aideen Henry has published two collections Hand Moving at the Speed of Falling Snow (Salmon, 2010 ) and Slow Bruise (Salmon, 2015). She was shortlisted for the Hennesy Award for Emerging Poetry.