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COLETTE OLNEY

 

 

 

Colette OlneyColette Olney’s poems have appeared in Best Irish Poetry in English (2010), Cyphers, Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times, The Stony Thursday Book, Podium IV (Kerry Arts) and The Long View.  Shortlisted at Strokestown Poetry Festival, winner of the International Davoren Hanna Poetry Prize and a contributor to RTE’s Sunday Miscellany (essays in the 2008-2011 anthology), she also works periodically as a tutor with creative writers for Adult and Continuing Education at University College Cork. Now living in Cork, Crosshaven-born Colette has lived in Ballyvourney and Bandon. In 2003, she was described by the Irish Times as “a relatively unknown Irish poet” – a characterization she relishes even while continuing to write and reading poets such as Jim Harrison, Wislawa Symborkska, Patricia Fargnoli, U.A. Fanthorpe, Ted Kooser, W.S Merwin, Vijay Sashedri & Robert Hass.

 

 

 

 

As I Light a Scented Candle

(i.m. my cousin V.)

 

 

Our menfolk weren’t cutting muster

We went out a lot

Me and Valda—and

At closing time we’d leave the pub

Before the others, take her nippy Peugeot,

Zip Along the quays—up Barrack Street

To Nancy Spain's and step out

Down Cat Lane: we were so vain.

 

We’d fix our faces in the mirror in the boxy

Scented john, then put our order in for Jameson

And gin and halves of Heineken

 

And take a table low-lit by the wall.

We’d wait there for the guys to come and talk to us

And they would come and talk to us

And we would talk to them.

 

I drank fast in those days.

Valda always paced herself—

She was looking for love.

 

None of the men were beautiful

And even if they were—could they belong to us

Could we belong to anyone?

 

The whole place smelt of gin and juniper

Ylang ylang

 

                         

 

©2015 Colette Olney

 

 

Author Links

 

Best Irish Poetry (containing work by Colette Olney)

Essay on J.G. Farrell by Colette Olney on Sunday Miscellany (audio)

More by Colette Olney in Southword Journal

 

 

 

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