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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
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BREDA WALL RYAN

 

 

 

Breda Wall Ryan

Breda Wall Ryan, born in Co. Waterford, now lives in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Her poetry has appeared in Skylight 47, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Ofi Press, Crannóg, Orbis, Magma and The Rialto. She won the iYeats, Poets Meet Painters, Over the Edge New Writer and Dromineer poetry competitions in 2013. A Pushcart and Forward Prize nominee, in 2015 she won the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition and her collection In a Hare’s Eye was published by Doire Press.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Self Portrait in the Convex Bulge of a Hare's Eye

 

My first word for Hare was cailleach,

witch or crone, slack-skinned

hag with blade-edged bones.

 

I met her again today

where seven hare-sisters grazed

a scrawny field at Renvyle,

 

face to face inhaled her lepus breath,

gazed through my shadow-face

cupped in her glass-dark eye.

 

‘Which is my animal shade?’ I asked

the coven of leathern-ears.

Each licked her cloven lip and chanted,

 

‘I’, ‘I’, and ‘I’. Hare with sea-salt tongue

rolled the dark bulge of her eye,

answered, ‘All of us, all of us here;

 

we show no map of your journey, we

are you when you get there’.

I grabbed at scut and slippery ear,

 

begged her to tell more

but rain rolled in from Boffin,

plump drops slicked her fur,

 

she twitched a salt-crusted whisker,

slipped into Otherwhere

like a white horse in ceo draíochta,

 

left me straddling a barbed wire fence

with two handfuls of loose belly-skin

and a jagged gash in my thigh.

 

 

ceo draíochta: (Gaeilge) magic mist, fairy fog.

 

 

 

©2015 Breda Wall Ryan

 

 

 

Author Links

 

Breda Wall Ryan home page

Three poems by Breda Wall Ryan in the Galway Review

'The Stranger's House' in Deep Water Literary Journal

'Salem Pilgrimage' in The Camel Saloon

 

 

 

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