Roisín Browne – And us to listen

Roisin Browne LEP&W V3 Dec 2022

Download PDF Here 13th Anniversary
Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three December 2022.

And us to listen, poem by Roisín Browne.

And us to listen

For Minnie

The fuchsia and montbretia are full and thick in hedges,
all bright green and wispy, falling out of their shape to greet us on the road,
the air easy and embraceable, water winking and everyone stilling.

A cloak of gapped silence, dappled with bird, bee, horse snout,
sits on the skies’ shoulders and falls with ease on beings.
Stillness allows earth song,
chaffinch chortle,
pheasants call,
greens dance,
dogs contemplate,
spirits speak and us to listen.


There’s a funeral up ahead, slowing a line of traffic to a halt on the Whitestown road.
It’s a light-yellow Spring Day; threads of warm brush the heads and faces
of mottled clad mourners. Respite from the held breaths in the tight church.
We sit on a bus, paused, thinking, Oh a funeral.

Some feet shuffle on the scrappy floor. Fingers tap fingers, willing movement
towards, a train station, a lunch, to something in particular. Silence sighs.
What time has passed?

We admonish ourselves.

Someone has lost their living life, will no longer breathe this air, take stock,
take hold, take on, take off. No one in that cortege, minds the cars, tractors,
bus, missed trains, late lunches. The slower they walk the more time they have
with the coffin, the body, the soul. More time to take part in the unfolding.
Each step, a coming into realisation before their kin goes beneath the earth.

On a country road, we remind ourselves, cemetery in view, and steal a glance
at watches.


At shattering lights, the evening drops from dusk grey to jet black.
A miasma of electric reds, orange, blues, green, splatter and stench the
urban canvas. Car tyres sluice and slide on fallen rain, aquaplaning bloodshot
despair and smoke fumes on claggy air.

Matchstick bodies line platforms. Hands in pockets, ears plugged, fingers
scrolling, blank stares, metal tracks, nuts and bolted wood. Shook pigeons
shelter under benches, scrapping for sandwich crumbs.

The sound will hum before the sight; rattle, shake, tremble, emerging into view.

© Roisín Browne

Roisín Browne lives in Rush, Co Dublin and has been published in A New Ulster, The Galway Review, Flare, The Stony Thursday Book, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Poetry NI and Echoes from the Castle Anthology. She was commended in the Gregory O’Donoghue Awards in 2018 and shortlisted in The Seventh Annual Bangor Poetry Competition in 2019.

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