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





Munster Literature Centre

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Cork County Council







Eric Paul ShafferEric Paul Shaffer is author of five books of poetry, including Lahaina Noon; Living at the Monastery, Working in the Kitchen; Portable Planet; RattleSnake Rider and Kindling: Poems from Two Poets. More than 400 of his poems appear in nearly three hundred local, national and international reviews and in the anthologies The EcoPoetry Anthology; Jack London Is Dead: Contemporary Euro-American Poetry of Hawai‘i; Crossing Lines; 100 Poets Against the War, and The Soul Unearthed. Shaffer received the 2002 Elliot Cades Award for Literature, a 2006 Ka Palapala Po'okela Book Award for Lahaina Noon, and the 2009 James M. Vaughan Award for Poetry. Burn & Learn, his first novel, was published by Leaping Dog Press in 2009. He teaches at Honolulu Community College. In June 2015, he will travel to Wyoming as a visiting poetry faculty member for the 23rd annual Jackson Hole Writers Conference.



                The Witch’s House




The witch’s house has a roof of grass, tall seeded stalks, wild,

          wound with light in the wind, over walls of rutted red earth.

Her windows are lit by day and darken at night. The witch’s house


          stands atop the only hill to the north, stark against the sky,

on the blue edge of the only horizon we see from the village below.

The witch summons the townsfolk to visit her daily, and they go,


wending the narrow trail on the gentle slope of gray, half-buried

boulders and grass and cows of black and white. The children run

through narrow cobbled lanes with sticks and hoops and barking

          dogs and the shrieks and shouted words that only children


understand. At night, many of the villagers return, plodding, weary,

some weeping, and all eager to lock the world beyond their bolted

doors. When at last I forget my birthday too, I meander along


          the stone-lined path to the witch’s door, and when I cross

the rough-hewn threshold so many have passed before me,

the house is empty. Sunlight brightens the red and blue spiral


of the kitchen rug and gleams on the polished stove and crockery.

The narrow bed is neat, beneath a quilt knotted with the elegant,

embroidered images of birds and beasts. The only closet is closed.

          The yellow curtains are tied back with artful knots of bows,


framing the pale and pretty landscape I neglect again to view.

The hearth is brilliant with flames of red and gold, and the stones

are swept and tidy near the trim iron tools kept to cultivate fire.


The witch is not at home, nor do I see any of the visitors I expect.

The armchair I choose is as soft as silence within cheerful walls,

          and I think the witch’s house is empty until I remember.


©2015 Eric Paul Shaffer



Author Links


Eric Paul Shaffer poems featured at Clerestory

'Illumination': Eric Paul Shaffer poem in The Sun

Eric Paul Shaffer interviewed at Geosi Reads

'The Word Swallower': poem by Eric Paul Shaffer in Rattle







©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