Colette Nic Aodha – Being a Poet

Profile Colette Nic Aodha LE Poetry & Writing September 2018

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Being a Poet, poems by Colette Nic Aodha

Colette is an award winning poet who resides in Galway in the West of Ireland. She writes in both Irish and English. She has fourteen publications which include a volume of short stories, Ádh Mór, as well as an academic study of the blind poet Anthony Raftery, an 18th century bard whose songs and poems are still recited and sung today. She has one volume of English poetry, Sundial, which was published by Arlen House Press, She also has two dual language collections of poetry by the same publisher; Between Curses: Bainne Géar , and In Castlewood: An Ghaoth Aduaidh. Her work is on the syllabus in Primary, Secondary and Third Level colleges. Colette’s latest collection (bilingual) is titled Bainne Géár: Sour Milk,which is available in hardback and softback, published by Arlen House, 2016. : Colette is pursuing postgraduate studies in the English department of NUI Galway; she also has a master’s degree in modern Irish.  ‘Magyar Dancer’ is her forthcoming collection of English poetry.

New Words 

for David Jones

After swimming towards this subterranean
gallery of bee hive huts, stone cloisters,
I circle around as you scuba dive off the coast,
bringing with you white sand, green waters,
sky of deepest azure.

Amongst the huts I unloosen stones
in my search for the truth I discover
heavy rocks delivered from hand to hand
like ancient family woes,
weighing us down on our journey.

Curating underwater is no picnic –
Bright coral and shells, translucent carpet
under which to brush your troubles,
kaleidoscopic rock bottom.

Being a Poet

‘A necklace of wrens:’ when he was young
Michael Hartnett lay down in a field, one day,
Lots of wrens settled on his chest:

Dreoilín, dreoilín, rí na n-éan,
is mór and cuid, is beag tú féin,
éirí suas, a bhean an tí,
is tabhair dom pingin,
chun é a chur ina luí.

His Granny said that he would be a poet.

I recall laying down on grass at the foot of a hill,
when I was young, out of the sight of my mother,
I was dodging work.
She told me I was going to be a poet,
but when she spoke
it sounded more like a threat.


No urban landscape
only the crossed diagonals of trunk or grass
blurred shapes entrenched,
the silence of exile.

Beasts of battle all of a mind,
moving eye of the bird on high,
freckles of time or sun
but no names of place as a certainty.

Accoutrements of war all the same
a sentence or term of sorts,
his urn  not yet on his mother’s mantle,
no cushion or pillow for comfort,

lines of men form order from chaos,
keeping the conversation between countries,
between children and men,
embossing a new pattern,

moving from light to darkness
darkness to light.

Sinister Twist

Starting with the most recent advance,
An event to spoil this horse sleep,
bending towards perfume of rodent laced mud,
stretching time,

Barbed soil doesn’t philosophise
the function of ritual or art
as you lie in a reinforced gully
donning new hats of tin.

© Colette Nic Aodha