Mari Maxwell – Stock Taking

Maxwell LE P&W 4 Nov-Dec 2023

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

Stock Taking, poems by Mari Maxwell.

Stock Taking

Down the aisle to the lake
where swans feed at dusk
the cat and I listen for barking deer,
rutting calls cough deep in the trees
as autumn sheds the last blackberries.

Long grasses loll as deer feast through
low hanging boughs as they pass through.
Three harebells sway with rosehips and haws.
The last of the swallows practice runs through
shed eaves and fields.

Our village is downing tools in our last summer here.
Farmer Tony’s final cut is in.
Bales of liquorice shine in the moonlight.
Late September the first fire warms grate, house and heart.
All of us ready for slumber and new pastures.


Do you hear the birds at night?
because they see you when
you ignite stone walls and tree limbs.

Silver silhouettes shimmer from window pane
to window pane as you traverse
the contours of our home.

You make me dizzy in my four
poster bed,

sliding, plaiting love rings and webs
cocooning us in.

But ah when you smile—up up up
240,000 miles away,
every crevice dug deep
in limestone walls grins.

© Mari Maxwell

Mari Maxwell’s work features in Washing Windows Too [2022]; Washing Windows Three [2023] both by Arlen House; The Stony Thursday Book, No. 18, Winter 2022; Bosom Pals, Doire Press; Veils Halos & Shackles [Kasva Press, Israel]. She received a 2020/21 Professional Development Award from the Arts Council of Ireland and a 2019-2020 Words Ireland/Mayo County Council mentorship. She is working on her debut poetry collection and a novel.

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