Live Encounters Poetry & Writing July 2021.
Mari Maxwell’s work is forthcoming in the Poetry Jukebox STARS Curation, Brilliant Flash Fiction’s Print Anthology and Inkroci Magazine. Her work has featured in Northern Ireland’s Light Theatre Company’s Dickens Festival 2020; Live Encounters Poetry & Writing; Pendemic.ie; Headstuff.org; Her Other Language, an anthology with Women’s Aid Northern Ireland; Libartes.net (translated to Serbian); Healing Words Exhibition, London, and University College Dublin’s Poetry Wall in 2018 and 2019. She received a 2020/21 Professional Development Award with the Arts Council of Ireland and a 2019/2020 Words Ireland, Mayo County Council Mentorship.
She dreams in limestone coils,
foetal curls in egg box pitting,
slides through hay stone,
silica and fossil, to roam
along the lake bed.
Seal-like, she propels
through wayward bamboo,
catches a golden slice of wild iris,
head splayed in the sun,
welcoming every filling thrust
of sunlight to stamen.
Where, nothing binds.
Before her the lakeshore summons
her down, deeper to where the yawning
abyss awaits to cast its spell.
And how, yes, yes.
How, she is gladly lost.
Between Coleraine and Derry,
tides thrum below Mussenden.
Miles of roiling Victorian ladies,
petticoats dipping and swanning in ordered lines.
Dancing waves and foam tiptoe.
Taffy rolls pull, stretch and retreat.
Long dimples and troughs smoothed in the sand.
In February winds, the foam shakes unruly tendrils,
so I unveil winter’s cloak.
Recall a naked breast, layers burnt.
The cool sting of virginal epidermis.
Thirty days of Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Release.
Peek-a-boo with the mammoth zapper.
Zap and sizzle.
In Downhill, where the railway tracks meander along
shoreline and cliffs, past Castlerock,
mysterious tunnels snake while above the windows
in Mussenden, a ruby heartbeat throbs in sunset.
Scars retreat in the pull of the tide.
Pains hauled out to sea in rough, smooth exfoliation.
As once more I am reborn.
By the Lakeshore
They twist and grow as
deadened moss encases branches.
Limescale dust binds bough and root.
Still they rise shoot leaves,
through limestone flutes
and sing their song.
In the water’s edge
twisted branches levitate
above drowning limestone.
Bud and leaf embrace the air.
Still they rise, shoot leaves.
By the anvil limestone
where the lichen frees
etchings scar their
way through undergrowth.
And sap tears along parchment
puddles in bloom and bud.
Still they rise, shoot leaves.
One Maine Winter
Take 114 north to Sebago
just after a first snowfall.
Where virginal paths and
on the hushed turn of the wheels.
Uphill all is a winter canopy,
ghostlike spindles unspool
on fresh fallen clouds.
Artic lace in early afternoon light
a rainbow kaleidoscope.
And if it’s clear, still light,
you may spy the White Mountain trail
where once The Old Man of the Mountain
near a place we once called home.
The Tourmakeady Mountains fold and ripple,
quilt the skyline.
Seamless vapour trails stitch through puffed grass.
Winter shifts from brittle brown to trumpeting daffodils,
heralding the Mayfly up, up.
Artic terns buoy in our flooded fields,
where we mosey the village mile,
glimpse the chocolate calf play
hide and seek.
You can spy a lemon dusted butterfly
draw lazy circles
where aged white mares graze.
Spring shifts and turns
when the little egret couple
house-hunt in our hood.
The long sleep is over.
© Mari Maxwell