Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2021
Special edition featuring poets from Australia & New Zealand.
Moya Pacey published her third collection Doggerland with Recent Work Press in 2020. Both of her previous poetry collections Black Tulips (Recent Work Press) and The Wardrobe were shortlisted for the ACT Writers Centre Poetry Award and she published One Last Border (Ginninderra Press) poetry for refugees with Sandra Renew and Hazel Hall. Her poems have been anthologised, and most recently published in Canberra Times, Blue Nib, London Grip, Burrow, Fem Asia, Axon, Cicerone Journal, ARTEMISPoetry UK, Meniscus, Terrain, Silence Anthology (University of Canberra) and longlisted in 2019 for the University of Canberra International Poetry Competition. She is a founding editor of the women’s on-line poetry journal Not Very Quiet. In October 2018, she was Poet in Residence at the Elizabeth Bishop House in Great Village, Nova Scotia, Canada. She has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Fishing with Seamus
Lured by the pull of your voice,
you hook me to the weight
of my father, born in that town
in the gabled house that stood
by the bridge, that arched
the clear waters of his boyhood.
The Moyola river, where he stepped
stones laid for an easy crossing,
or stood on the muddy bank
to flick a line and reel
in a fat, brown trout.
Seamus, you shoal words my way,
like the steady flow of mackerel
running with the tide. I feel,
the tug of the silver harvest,
‘catch my heart off guard,
and blow it wide open.’
‘catch my heart off guard,
and blow it open.’
–Postscript, Seamus Heaney
When I play Mary in the Christmas Play
I feel lost wearing my gymslip in the playground
without Mary’s blue robe and white veil.
Girls come up to me prodding my puppy fat,
Well, are you?
They say you are.
I don’t know what they mean.
All I know is each night, when I
put on Mary’s clothes, cover my hair,
stand in the spotlight waiting for Gabriel,
the archangel, to give me my cue,
‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord,’
I am Mary soon-to-be the Mother of God.
Twelve years old and a Virgin.
Perfect for the part.
As I place a foot on the first step, I see him
seated on the chair, that moves up and down.
He’s wearing a blue, open-collared shirt, trousers,
ironed with a knife-edged crease from knee
to ankle, stiff white handkerchief in his top pocket.
Hands gripping the arms of the seat. There’s room
for me to walk beside to check he won’t fall.
I wish I didn’t think of this.
I’d rather remember him that Christmas,
standing at the ‘North Star Bar’. Hands
pouring my drink so strong, I tripped
coming down the stairs. I blamed
my two-inch, red, brand-new, platform shoes.
© Moya Pacey