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Best of Irish Poetry 2010
Editor: Matthew Sweeney
Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition
Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes
Munster Literature Centre
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Maureen Gallagher was born in Monaghan, and now lives in Galway City. Her first collection of poetry, entitled Calling the Tune, was published by Wordsonthestreet Press in December 2008. Her poetry, prose and criticism have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Shop, The Cork Literary Review, The Stinging Fly and others. She is an accomplished performer of her work and has read at many events, including at Cúirt International Festival. Her work has been broadcast on RTÉ. She was a prize-winner in the Wicklow Writers’ Award 2008 in both poetry and prose and the Leyney Writers’ Short Story Award 2009.
The Music Never Stopped
It’s twenty-one long weeks since her lover
packed up his battered feelings and left
her space to mull, make sense of the music
that hums and tings and thrums in this town,
this city of tribes he once saw as home,
a dream that foundered. But still his face
in the mirrored glass, the fronts that face
out to the river, the walkway for lovers.
She imagines him back building a home
by a meadowsweet country field, not left
adrift alone in a house in town,
afraid to tune in, to listen to music
he once performed so happily, music
beyond the point of rescue they traced
on their hearts, notating a trip to town,
a gift, a grace for autumn lovers;
pausing to sign at a stall on the left,
laughing and talking the whole way home.
He used to say where true love lay was home,
but the tone deaf do not hear the music
until it’s too late, until all that’s left
is the forest flame planted to face
the south, the sun: the sigh of a lover
trying to please his prima donna from town.
The affair, in the end, wore him down.
He shut up shop altogether, now roams
the world alone looking for a lover
who will make him whole. But the music
he hears is the old song, a mellow case
of the wine he longs for, the sound he left.
And while he searches both right and left
she waits in a house not far from town,
looks in the mirror and sees a face,
ageing and lived in: an image of home.
But still the ache, the sound of music
that never fades, the song of her lover
who left, packed up his feelings; a lover,
bound to another harmonic in music,
face turned forever to a score called Home.
©2010 Maureen Gallagher
Gallagher's debut collection Calling the Tune
Gallagher's prize-winning essay on Patrick Kavanagh
Gallagher at Wordsonthestreet Press