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Best of Irish Poetry 2010
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Songs of Earth and Light
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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
Through the blossom-gate
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
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
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 in Homs
are In Tahrir
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
The women are Sabine,
there are Piètas
and his rust-coloured shadow
is cast onto the floor,
beneath it the stone flags
show their cracks and flaws,
they are brown
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
and cast all their circumspections to the breeze.
©2012 Christine Murray
Christine Murray at Poethead
Murrays PEN bio page
Murray on the process of transcribing women's poetry