Margaret Kiernan – The Mill Ballast

Kiernan LE P&W 2 Nov-Dec 2023

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

The Mill Ballast, poems by Margaret Kiernan.

The Mill Ballast

The mill stands proud in mottled shades of leaky grey,
the wheel is still.
No sign of carts or corn bags,
no shout outs to the ballast men.

Rooks fly in, rush back out,
fragranced by oat sediment.

Graffiti messages on timber beams,
like postcards from lost lovers,
there are moody spiders full of spin.
Bunched broken twigs and the birds’ empty eggshells.

The only music comes from the wind
as the unharnessed water spills
over rocks.

The River Echoes

Fanta in a bottle, sweaty summer grit
Spun-out throat quench
That speckled eye
From sun drench
Last drop drunk dry.

We play
Scuff leather
Beat down on dry ground
Smell rising petrichor
Punctured rubber wheel- tube
Dunked and search for air bubbles
Beneath our nose

Glass bottle refund shared in love-heart sweets
Or candy cigarettes held aloft.
Pink polka dot smock worn draped
Over scorched skin
Burnished hair casual
swinging loose.
The river echoes our play.

The Mill

Behind the village, above the mill pond
In briars and honeysuckled ropes of vine
Lie space-age cars from Hollywood
Tarnished gadgets, silver loudhailers,
hand-built motor bikes, movie poster signs.

The owner, now long gone, made home movies
within the mill. A private cinema booth for one
of un-licensed flicks.
Shadows flout over sodden ground
Floors have sagged since the age of milling grain.

Only bags of tat spill along the floor
where drifters have called to mooch out a space
among aluminium tins of spooled film reels.
Moth-eaten book spines hang onto a shelf
with the titles Ulysses and Lord Haw-Haw.

Nearby the lime-kiln house is home to badgers.
Hares and rabbits’ flit and play among wildflowers
While mallard ducks and swans glide about the pond.
Pigeons wait in the wood,
fly for home nearer dark.

© Margaret Kiernan

Margaret Kiernan writes poetry and short stories. She has been nominated twice for The Best of The Net Award. She was the Runner-up in The Hannah Greely International Competition. Widely published in Literary Journals and Magazines, inc. the following sample, The Blue Nib, The Ekphrastic Review, The Galway Review. Cheavers and Masticatories. Poet The Scarlet Dragonfly. Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Catchwater Magazine. Red Fern Review. A New Ulster. Wildfire Words, etc. She is listed in The Index of Contemporary Women Poets in Ireland, 2020. Margaret has a background in professional advocacy. She lives with her dog, Molly. She paints landscapes and still-life.

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