Breda Wall Ryan – Prayer

Breda Wall Ryan LE Poetry & Writing October 2017

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Prayer, poems by Breda Wall Ryan

Breda Wall Ryan grew up in Co Waterford and now lives in Co. Wicklow. She has a B.A. in English and Spanish from UCC; a Post-graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Second or Other Language from Trinity College, London; and M.Phil. in Creative Writing (Distinction) from Trinity College, Dublin.

Her awarded fiction has appeared in The Stinging Fly, The Faber Book of Best New Irish Short Stories 2006-7 and The New Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction. Her poems have been published in Skylight 47Ink Sweat and TearsDeep Water Literary JournalAnd Other Poems, Fish AnthologyThe Ofi Press, OrbisMagma and The Rialto.

In 2013 Breda won the iYeats Poetry Contest, Poets Meet Painters, Dromineer Poetry Competition and Over the Edge New Writer of the Year. She was selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions Series, 2014 and was awarded Second Place in the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Third Prize in The Rialto/RSPB Nature Poetry Competition, was shortlisted for a Bridport Prize and Highly Commended in Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Forward Prize, she won the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition, 2015. Her first collection In a Hare’s Eye won the Shine Strong Award.


This sunbaked afternoon, stretch
in a tractor-rutted suntrap in the golden field
where stuffed-crop pigeons glean ripe grain

drizzled between brittle stubble rows.
A wren flirts on a hazel branch,
the robin shrills his muezzin’s call.

Blackbird and thrush trill
a litany of bird-praise to the glory
of this Indian Summer day, a dunnock

on a blackthorn perch answers
tseep-tseep-tseep! Midges gyre
in cloudy shade while, almost motionless

against the sun, red kites glide on thermals,
throw slow loops of shadow on the ground,
their mewling cries trembling the air.

Purpled fingers pluck plump berries
from the swollen hedge.
This day, this sun, this lush Septembering:

this is enough.

Rain Over Boston

Circling Logan, I imagine you
at your desk in John Hancock Tower.
You glance at your watch, lift the phone,
peer up into the grey sponge of sky
through the Tower’s glazed façade
where Trinity Church is mirrored, sombre
as the rain-black stone of Copley Square.

Incessant rain, every bloated drop
a separation, slides across the porthole,
down the fuselage, along the wing,
then hurtles to the city below, where
you wait on the 13th floor. I send raindrops
spinning between us, a descending prayer
to keep us in holding pattern.

To all my Facebook Friends

I took this photo at the far end of the beach.
I had just reached my FitBit goal: 10,000 steps.
The sea had calmed again after last night,
light seeped from a milkwhite sky. The Labrador,
up to his usual tricks, raced through the waves,
then found a buried rope and tugged it free.
Blue polyprop, heavy gauge, one end wound
round and round a harbour seal who spun
himself for fun until, flippers pinioned
to his sides, he drowned—let’s hope before
the gulls pecked out those eyes. Let’s put an end
to ocean litter. Sign my Save the Seals petition.
Like. Comment. Share. Let’s make this go viral.

To My Thirties, and a certain WWOOFer.

Oh year of my thirtieth birthday,
had I known I would never feel older
or that organic gardening would lose
its mud-under-the-fingernails glamour,
I would have paid more heed
to that young man of twenty
who offered to do my spring sowing
in exchange for bed and board.
Oh thirtieth birthday, the swing
of his Blackwatch kilt fanned the silky
backs of his knees, but I wondered
where he would be when his seed
put up its first leaves, and insisted
my garden didn’t need his green-
fingered tending. But now it does.

WWOOFer International volunteer exchange on sustainable and organic farms and properties.

© Breda Wall Ryan