Poems and Poetry

Marie MacSweeney

In a Liminal Space | A Poem by Marie MacSweeney

Born during the famine
my seawoman ancestor set out regularly
into the Atlantic, southwards
and eastwards, towards Bristol,
trading metal and grain.

Though she lies quiet now
in the tomb at Ráth
my mind carries her about,
delicately as a caul,
sets her free on the high seas.

I am there too, at the binnacle,
manning the compass,
plotting our course westwards.
The name of our journey is mingling, or
daring, or dwelling with the things she loved.

In the sea there is no place
that is not her place.
Each journey is an alert
romance.
She respects the ocean’s stillness,
knows its savagery.

As waters rock beneath us
I nudge through her reticence,
amid flicker of whale pulse
and dolphin plunge, touch her heart,
sky sidling away in the wind,

and the notion I share with Kate, that this was our
first home,
that we crawled from its wet turbulence
aeons ago, limped across shores,

loved land later, with its trees and sighs.


In Another World | A Poem by Marie MacSweeney

Landscape of frenetic days
linked to the demands of now,
and inside it she and me,
one a prowling wolf,
the other an astronomer probing space.

We cling to the present
with our sharp telescope
and our precision claws

until a branch snaps beside us
and she lunges from her lair,
spine flexed, teeth bare,
constellations decoding the moment
with their pack light.


Autumn | A Poem by Marie MacSweeney

September creeps along anarchic grass.
In our garden plum trees bend
to the earth, each branch
a frail skirmish
across briars and barriers,
naked warriors
accepting no natural defeat.

It is autumn
and we have come
to gather in the fruit,
eat in our orchard,
think God is good,
but there are wasps and worms
feeding, and we have our own wars.


Surfacing | A Poem by Marie MacSweeney

Atoms cool in the roundness of new night.
A searing hiss as suns settle into skies.
Planets sigh and sway into first sleep.
Trees bed down in those dark patches
of warm earth, shiver as waves
coax water upward over sand

and the electric swing of a storm
is left dangling overhead…

After birth tremors subside
is a lull
and we lie curled up
on raw soil,
our new hearts thumping wildly
when we are drawn up,
bone by howling bone,
left standing…

Distances | A Poem by Marie MacSweeney

I willed your wound
to heal itself
in passing days,
petitioning
each silent exhalation
to rid you a little
of your hot grief,
to be swiftly slain
in cooling air

but you seemed
to inhale it again
in scalding gasps,
hour after solitary hour,
until it burned in you,
a bright phosphorous
rooting into flesh

and there was no way
I could push aside
the air and wind
and still
your gathering hurt.

Almost | A Poem by Marie MacSweeney

Almost as though
atoms
assemble always
towards wholeness
and
chaos longs
for final
shape;
almost as though
tears
bring forth
torrents of
song;
almost as though
all sense
is compacted
in fugitive
fragments
loosed from futile dreams;
almost as though
ice
might burn into fire,
desire
excite forever;
almost as though
light
shall solemnly
master
night
I speak to you.