Liturgy, 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.
He came of age in the Great War,
alternating moments of collapse and attack,
he came of age in the Great war
empty helmet of the opponent,
ghost on the battlefield.
He came of age on the Western Front
amongst the cadence of gunfire, the whip of bullets,
he came of age on the Western Front,
dull rattle of explosives,
hurried barrage of command.
He came of age during his first advance,
filthy pantomime of the heart,
he came of age during his first advance,
scattered fillings of friends
sleep beneath a thin layer of peat.
He came of age with the new percussion bomb
standing aside to let a stretcher case past,
he came of age with the new percussion bomb,
by the obscenity of death.
He came of age in Mametz Wood,
the line of the trees pierced his leg like a sword,
he came of age in Mametz Wood,
conditioned by vales of tears,
the wound of impolite words.
Making Shapes in Words
(after painter and poet David Jones)
Solemn chuckles, in parenthesis,
bloody heroics of poppies replace dreams,
foxes and birds of battle scrape the dark.
Jingoism creates its own make shift crosses,
palette for copper, wood or paper,
high pitched screech of shrapnel shell.
Coerced to paint silence behind trees, slay demons;
the other side of windows shaped branches and twigs
for brush and page…..
I have to write monsters in words,
trace veins of fiends with pencil or ink.
Sometimes charcoal from the burnt embers of fallen dreams
adds weight to paper.
Forget order, colour padlocks on foreheads
put breasts on doors, turn ciphers inside out,
silence the light, paint the past in shadows,
crowd life with afterlife, water grand illusions…
Threads of time fading…
Briefly…… Heart imitates mind.
after Elizabeth Bishop
Losing is one skill I cannot seem to master
No matter how I practice
Losing you every day doesn’t make it easier
Losing is still a skill I cannot master
You find me on the street or at a bus stop
Losing is a skill I cannot seem to master
I tried losing your name, your number
You bleed departure
Losing is a skill I cannot master
I lose you each morning before I brew my coffee,
I lost my youth long before you did yours,
Each day I lose my place on this earth
Losing is a skill I cannot master.
© Colette Nic Aodha