Sinéad McClure – My father looks out from my eyes

McClure LE P&W 1 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume One Nov-Dec 2023

My father looks out from my eyes, poems by Sinéad McClure.

My father looks out from my eyes

He said my eyes sparkled;

Spiralling eyes
whirlpools to wash me in,
this is the way they kill me.

A brume of morphine patterned
in the film of a badly lit room.
My eyes shone blue haloes,
caught fluorescents, birthed tiny stars.

I trapped him there.
Somewhere between Orion
and the Milky Way.
Heard him sing
I only have eyes for you
more Jolson than Sinatra

These days I catch him
watching me more
then I watch myself

Whirlpools to wash me in,
this is the way they kill me

She took her poem and cut it 15 ways

First she held words at the mouth of a bird box.
Wood, against wood, against tree.

Then, tacked in at the edge of a birch,
she left a note for the carpenter bees.

Some floated to the forests,
left exclamation marks in the plantations,

others were a prayer on the fallen alder
split into pieces by the late November winds.

Invocations became a blush on the blueberry,
the hot fire of autumn.

A stanza pinned on sheep wire
marked ways through to the other side.

Some rotted in the compost,
became worms for birds to peck at,

sung into the air

or knelt in the damp of the wintered
condensation of mourning.

She took her poem and cut it 15 ways,
a ticket-strophe on windscreen wipers,

couplets left on the dead honeysuckle
now a roof for sparrows

words for windows.

Wheels spin invisible spokes,
nobody speaks,

there is only wet leaves to hold her words up.
They fly to winter,

catch in leafless branches,
fall again.

Spring for the welder

A sword of light straight-blades the railway line at dawn,
double-edges blackthorn, makes voles blink, wakes mice

who scurry tail-high to sail the calmest days when owls lie-in.
We follow it as children, the light a piper thrumming the green.

We wear oversized seats and fogged up windows
packed with smiles, leave rain stilting behind us, an echo.

In the foundry a man beats steel into sheets of hot reflection,
behind weary eyes bloom orchids, celandine and primrose.

He welds himself a spring too hot, and like the now weather
flames ignite, lash back, hot-talons no creature can out scurry.

The fury cooled only by a child’s soft fingers wrapping,
looping, overlapping damp bulrush into Bridget’s crosses.

© Sinéad McClure

Sinéad McClure’s writing is published on radio, and in anthologies, magazines and online including; The Honest Ulsterman, The Stinging Fly, Southword, Live Encounters, Poethead, Drawn to the Light, The Cormorant, Dodging the Rain, A New Ulster, StepAway Magazine, Sonder Magazine and many other fine publications. Sinéad has two chapbooks published her first solo chapbook The Word According to Crow and along with her collaborator Cáit O’ Neill McCullagh their chapbook The songs I sing are sisters published by Dreich in Scotland.

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