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Mary Ellen Fean – Afternoon

Profile Fean LEP&W Sept 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing September 2021 Mini Edition

Born in East Galway, Mary Ellen Fean’s work has been published in Cyphers, The SHOp, The Clare Champion, Revival, broadcast on Clare FM radio, and she was shortlisted for the Desmond O’Grady poetry prize. She has read her work widely at, for example, The Forge at Gort Literature Festival, Whitehouse Poets (Limerick,) and the Galway Arts Festival Fringe.



Often in the dead hours
Of a summer afternoon
We went to the village library –

You aged four, swayed
By an ice-cream promise

A rarefied house of books
Cool air, blades of the brass fans
Turning slowly

Took your interest, hummed
You to sleep; while I randomly
Turned the pages

Of some travel magazine.
Mostly I just
Watched you sleeping.

Even then
I knew these moments passed.



Wild honeysuckle brought
From the island separates
Their houses

They stand either side of it,
Each by his own door
Batting the breeze

Sometimes silent, gazing
Out over the bay, to the place
They were raised

Tall men, rugged build
Years of following
The work

These days they grow
Herbs in old
Lobster pots

Harvest the fruit canes, watch
Long days draw in, slipping
Easily into the mother tongue –

Leitirmor, Leitirmullan
An Ceathru Rua; places held
In the heart.

©Mary Ellen Fean