Live Encounters Poetry & Writing September 2021 Mini Edition
Kate Ennals is a prize-winning poet and writer and has published poems and short stories in a range of literary and on-line journals (Crannog, Skylight 47, Honest Ulsterman, The Moth, Anomaly, The International Lakeview Journal, Boyne Berries, North West Words, The Blue Nib, Dodging the Rain, The Ogham Stone, plus). In 2017, she won the Westport Arts Festival Poetry Competition. Her first collection of poetry At The Edge was published in 2015. Her second collection, Threads, was published in April 2018. Kate runs At The Edge, Cavan, a literary reading evening, funded by the Cavan Arts Office. Before doing an MA in Writing at NUI Galway in 2012, Kate worked in UK local government and the Irish community sector for thirty years, supporting local groups to engage in local projects and initiatives. Her blog can be found at kateennals.com
Pathways to Peace
Syrians, Somalians, and Eritreans
risk the Med or traipse the Balkans
Afghanis trudge from the East
forging ahead with Algerians.
Boys from Senegal and Morocco
tramp from the North.
In between, lies a path used by women
and children from Cameroon
If it was you, what would be your route?
After packing my backpack with essentials
(phone, change of clothes, a cup)
I would walk the Dublin Road from Cavan
And head towards Killiney Beach
Assuming someone there
(for they are rich and enterprising)
would have set up a smuggling business
to get me out of here.
Then I’d walk the UK land bridge to France
My final destination.
Already, it seems mad…to say the least
all the borders, seas, police
immigration, questions, different customs
raised hackles, suspicions.
I’d have to sleep rough. It would be dangerous.
Would it be better to be raped
imprisoned, murdered here, in my own home
by my own, in a place
where I’m supposed to feel safe?
But I have a responsibility, a moral duty
To protect my children and myself.
I’ll contact Pathways to Peace,
an international UN agency,
to see if they have any advice.
I read on their website that it has been
‘actively making peace a lived reality.’
I wonder what language that is
Or if such a place exists.
Too much Pressure for a Young Man
I overheard him say it was too much trouble.
What is, I asked, when I got the chance.
Going out with a girl, he replied, it’s a hassle.
Really? I said, what is the problem?
Well, he said, it’s would hardly be restful.
I’ll have to do things I don’t really want to.
Like what, I queried, give me examples.
She’ll make me go places, like the zoo,
art galleries, the cinema, shops, visit her parents.
She’ll make me plan holidays, take weekend breaks.
I’ve seen the length of time a girl can take.
Tell me, what are you doing that is so precious?
What’s so important that she will interrupt?
Stuff, he informed me. My gaming, my life-style
My freedom to do as I please when I want.
I sighed. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a partner?
Someone with whom to share your troubles?
He shot me a withering look. Mother, he answered,
There’s no stress in my life. I am single.
I nodded, smiled, as if enlightened
And through gritted teeth, I inquired
Darling, will you ever want children?
He frowned, pouted his lips, hesitated, said, yes,
Probably. I’ll review it when I’m older
not as busy, in my forties, I guess.
I stop, glance sideways
a vibrant green bud
at the tip of a bare branch
Is about to burst its sepal
yield its glow. Its petiole
bubbles with vigour,
sheds a tiny glimmer
at the edge of my dark wood
swarming with bark beetles,
pine needles, dead leaves.
A leaf will soon unfurl
And when I pass tomorrow
I will not recognise it at all
© Katie Ennals