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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
Best of Irish Poetry 2010

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Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
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BILLY RAMSELL

 

 

Billy Ramsell

Billy Ramsell was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1977 and educated at the North Monastery and UCC.  Complicated Pleasures, his debut collection, was published by the Dedalus Press, Dublin, in 2007. He has been shortlisted for a Strong Award and a Hennessy Award.  He lives in Cork, where he co-runs an educational publishing company.

 

 

 

 

Half Time

 

Aphrodite sashayed from the kitchen with the tartan tea tray.

Hermes looked from the soiled dinner dishes

 

to the paisley wall paper to the telly and emitted a long sigh of boredom.

Hurling, like most team sports, isn't much fun when you know how it finishes.

 

And being gods they knew almost everything.

Zeus absently stroked the remote, his lip curling

 

in jaded disdain as Aphrodite placed his Twix mug in front of him.

For to make matters worse this was winter hurling,

 

not the tossed-salad-bowl stadiums of summer,

dressed, on some days drenched, in sizzling heat and sound

 

but their somehow soviet winter alter-egos: slabs of grey deserted masonry

under an oppressive, apprehensive junta of cloud.

 

Hermes unslumped himself suddenly in his threadbare armchair.

'Let's repair', he said to his father, 'to the Bottoms-Up slut club in Brighton,

 

take Saskia and Karina upstairs for a private dance.

Or how about this: let's turn all the lights on

 

and off in Calcutta all at once, feast on chutneyed chapatis,

before gently molesting two Bengali princesses

 

in a dream each will wake from pregnant with a gold-clawed swan.

Or we could make of ourselves some glittering evanescence

 

and mate with nebulae, out at the galaxy's freezing edge,

leave them as sprawled eternities of pulsing want;

 

planet-pregnant, pregnant with stars. Or at least can we turn the station over,

to Eastenders, Hitler's Henchmen or Can fat teens hunt?'

 

Hermes fell silent, fidgeted with a chocolate digestive, 

mumbled under his breath. Aphrodite began clatteringly carting

 

the dinner dishes to the kitchen. Zeus looked into 

the ripples in his dark brown tea. 'Hush', he said, 'the second half's starting'.

 

©2009 Billy Ramsell

 

Author Links

Poems and extended bio at Poetry International Web

Ramsell poem 'For the Bodiless' in Horizon magazine

Ramsell poem 'Breath' in the Stinging Fly

 

 

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