Moyra Donaldson – Where Was I Looking

Moyra Donaldson LEP&W V4 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Four December 2022.

Where Was I Looking, poems by Moyra Donaldson.

Where Was I Looking

I have been late to so many things:
damsel flies, seal songs,
kingfishers – and realisations –
things I should have sussed.
How did I miss them for so long?

I looked at the tulips, half mad with grief
In the Hotel Opera, Budapest;
they opened their black throats
and filled the corridors with absences.

I looked at the small black creature
scuttling across my vision,
to disappear each time into the invisible.

I looked behind me, fearing
what might be coming forward.

I looked at the blue lights, the monster
in the cupboard, the broken things;
I looked past them for a mystery,
as if a mystery was ever to be found.

I looked at the scattering of shadows
but could not see the pattern.

Saw consequence –
and not the thing itself.

The Stone People

after Ovid’s Fable X

I knew I didn’t come from the sea.
There’s nothing of it in me, no salt
or tides or flowing in between.
I cannot imagine opening my eyes
in the waters of the deep.

Knowing what I am grown from,
I love better my obdurate past,
the stony dreams bequeathed to me.

Talking about Autumn

Fionn says his friend thinks of Autumn
as being
the most emotionally complex of seasons

and I think – yes –
all that burning beauty in decay
harvested riches of what is past

bright presence of future absence
of what must be endured
before the light comes back

© Moyra Donaldson

Moyra Donaldson is a poet and creative writing facilitator from Co Down. She has published nine collections of poetry and has been involved in various collaborations with visual artists, most recently with Wexford artist Paddy Lennon resulting in the limited edition publication of artwork and poems, Blood Horses.

Her work is widely anthologised and she has read at festivals in Europe, Canada and America and in 2019, Moyra received a Major Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Her latest collection, Bone House, was published by Doire Press in April 2021.

‘There is fire, hail and a streak of white lightning running through these extraordinary poems. Bone House kept me awake at night. One of the finest collections I have read in a long time.’

Annemarie Ní Churreáin, author of Bloodroot (Doire Press)

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