Best of Irish Poetry 2009
Best of Irish Poetry 2010

Editor: Matthew Sweeney



Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan



Done Dating DJs
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition




Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes





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Christine Murray in Southword Journal

Chris Murray is a City and Guilds Stone-cutter. Her poetry is published in Ropes Magazine, Crannóg Magazine, The Burning Bush Online Revival Meeting (Issue 1), Carty's Poetry Journal, Caper Literary Journal , CanCan and the Diversity Blog (PIWWC; PEN International Women Writer's Committee). She has reviewed poetry for Post (Mater dei Institute), Poetry Ireland and writing.ie. Chris writes a poetry blog at http://poethead.wordpress.com which is dedicated to the writing, editing and translation of women writers. She is a member of the International PEN Women Writer’s Committee, and the Social Media coordinator and Web-Master for Irish PEN.






Two Songs about War, and a Lyric


As If



Through the blossom-gate





As If



It had not once occurred to her to ask (who) ?

Wherefrom is grace , and to whither it goers when

it departs ?




High-wordedness has stymied her sense of longing

in every colour from indigo to amber, amber to indigo.



As if , as if the jewels caught up in the blades of grass

were instead attached to the lashes of her eyes,

skewing her not-vision.




She peeked at herself in walking again and again

in that place. Only to be torn there,

back from those things most fiercely desired,




those hollowed-out things of indigo and amber,

amber , indigo, their very shadows mired by the




trees maybe,






after Picasso's 'Guernica'





There are wounds.



Gernika is a scream

everything is pushed

into the front.



This is war,


everything is a pièta,

everything is a broken sword

or flames

that will engulf a breast



Her milk is stopped.



This is grief

and there is no space to breathe.




The women and men who will bury their young


are Sabine

are in Homs

are  In Tahrir

are Ughyur



or Gernika.








A crude electric light


lights the scene

where she is come

into the room, this space.




Carrying her oil-lamp


it is too late now for her

for it is etching into her brain

the die is cast

She has seen war.



The milk is spilt.

The pièta howls

drowned by her ambulance of screams.



The night , an ambulance

drowns the sea of howls and crude light

in Homs

in Tahrir

in Gernika.




The women are Sabine,

there are Piètas

in Gernika.













and his rust-coloured shadow

is cast onto the floor,


beneath it the stone flags

show their cracks and flaws,


they are brown


or black.



That he may come in to wound her

that he may come in to love her

is the same thing.



There are two pots

There are bowls,

there is a pestle

and a short knife,


in the metal dish

is the featherless corpse

bathed in its blood.

He winged it


before he broke its neck for the pot.



That he may come to wound her

that he may come to love her

is the same thing.



He is a cruel child.

He has the cruelty of a child


who knows where the fractures are

he can trace them with his hands


although the fractures are silvered in their healing

for her, the scars sing.



That he want to wound to wound her

that he may want to love her

is the same thing.







Through the blossom-gate,



and quite before the acid leaf unfurls into its meaning

we are subjected to the play of light,

working on our necessity to speak out


into a flowering. It is not yet warm  and

already the sun is playing at dragging up


and displaying those unwanted words,

elucidatory and garish in their babblement.


Its almost necessary to cut them

at their source. That well-spring


is a tree-wounded gash. The birds

disagree in their illuminatory chatter as

they may,



and cast all their circumspections to the breeze.




©2012 Christine Murray




Author Links


Christine Murray at Poethead

Murrays PEN bio page

Murray on the process of transcribing women's poetry







©2009 Southword Editions
Munster Literature Centre

Southword 6 Southword No 7 Southword No 8 Southword No 9 Southword No 10 Southword 11 southword 12 Southword No 14 Southword No 15