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Liberty Walks Naked
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Richesses

Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes

 

 

 

 

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EILEEN SHEEHAN

 

 

eEileen Sheehan: is from Scartaglen, County Kerry. She lives in Killarney. Anthology publications include Best Loved Poems: Favourite Poems from the South of Ireland (editor Gabriel Fitzmaurice with photographs by John Reidy/ Curragh Press); The Deep Heart's Core: Irish Poets Revisit a Touchstone Poem (editors Eugene O'Connell & Pat Boran/ Dedalus Press) and TEXT: A Transition Year English Reader (editor Niall MacMonagle/ The Celtic Press). Her third collection, The Narrow Way of Souls (Salmon Poetry) will be published in May 2018.

photo: john minihan

 

 

 

Remedies

 

 

For a sore head
weave a close cap out of ivy.
Wear for three days and three nights.

 

To stem a nosebleed,

tie your two small fingers

with a woollen thread.

 

When suffering with toothache

hold a frog

in your mouth.

 

For a sore on the leg

paste it with cream from the top of the milk.

Let the dog lick it off.

 

If struck by a pain in the side

spit under a big stone and bless yourself.

Run home as fast as you are able.

 

For tightness in the chest,

finish off any milk

the ferret leaves after it.

 

If a needle goes through the body,

press a fox's tongue at the point of entry

to draw the needle out.

 

For measles,

boil sheep dung in milk

and drink the liquid.

 

A sure cure for thin legs

is to wrap them in cobwebs,

for three nights.

 

If your toes are crookened by corns

walk barefoot through the grass,

when the dew is on it.

 

If a headache comes down on you,

walk backwards along the road

for three miles.

 

For general wellbeing

boil robin-run-the-hedge in spring water,

take as a tonic with meals.

 

For a person down the room on their deathbed

send for the wise one. She will screech Get out of my vision

at the first three creatures to pass by the door.

Although never a fool, Death will be fooled

by the bargain and take them instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stray

 

If you must enter the fairy field at evening,

fill your pockets with iron.

 

If they put The Stray on you

for their amusement,

 

or for using their land

as a shortcut home,

 

you'll walk forever in circles

unable to tell the gate from the hedge,

tell the grass from the sky,

tell the river from the road.

 

When a road appears at your feet

throw iron ahead of you

to check your ground,

 

watch it splash and

sink through water

where they'd see you drown.

 

Divert your path, keep walking.

No matter how tired, don't lie down

or they will put the sleep of one-hundred-years on you.

 

Side step any obstacles they raise before you.

If you come to a river

toss another piece of iron ahead of you,

 

if it fails to sink

step forward,

 

walk on water until the water

reveals itself as ground;

only then are you free of them.

 

Don't talk to anyone you meet on the road,

tell no one what befell you

for no one will believe you.

 

Keep your wits about you

and cross yourself three times

when over the threshold of home.

 

 

©2018 Eileen Sheehan

 

 

Author Links

 

Eileen Sheehan on Poetry International

Eileen Sheehan at Poethead

Eileen Sheehan at poemimage with artwork by Steven McCabe

 

 

 

 

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