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Mary Melvin Geoghegan – In a Distant Landscape

Profile Mary Melvin Geoghegan LE P&W Dec V One 2018

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In a Distant Landscape, poems by Mary Melvin Geoghegan

Mary Melvin Geoghegan has five collections of poetry published.  Her most recent When Moon and Mother Collide (2018) Salmon Poetry. Her work has been published widely including Poetry Ireland Review, Hodges Figgis 250th Anthology, Poem on the DART 2018, The Sunday Times, Crannog, Skylight 47, THE SHOp, Cyphers, The Moth, The Stinging Fly, The Stony Thursday Book amongst others.  In 2013 she won the Longford Festival Award, and shortlisted in 2015 for the Cuirt New Writing Award, in 2017 for the Fish Poetry Award, the Rush Poetry Award and the Padraic Colum Gathering 2018 Poetry Competition.


In a Distant Landscape

‘on a huge hill,
Cragg’d and steep, Truth stands, and hee that will
Reach her, about must, and about must goe:
And what the hills suddennes resists, winne so.’
John Donne

The poet’s mind begins to spin
beyond London across an uninspiring landscape.
Searching, unable to avoid
the skeletal naves of medieval sanctuaries
pulled down half a century ago
with the wind in their ribs –
Yet, try as he might
he can’t find the space
where he is himself alone enough.
Desperately searching in his own labyrinth
reasoning it’s futile to look for truth
in either the Vatican or the city of Geneva.
Trying to imagine an internal topography
quite bare of ruined abbeys
visible, in a distant landscape.

An Old Woman and a Boy by Candle Light

Matthias Stom 1620

In a corner –
of the National Gallery, Dublin
after ‘The Taking of Christ’ by Caravaggio
I found your lips –
lit nearly four hundred years ago
and the man, you would become
is there in the gaze of the Boy.


The Wounded Wonder

I’m stopped
up in the Coach House at Dublin Castle
before ‘The Wounded Wonder’
by artist Michael Farrell –
his blood still fresh on the canvas.
Where skulls and potatoes mingle
as if exchangeable commodities.
In a compassion for the Famine victims
almost, as a premonition of an early mortality
in his lasting DNA.

When the Pope Came to Ireland

in late August 2018
I was angry all the time
it’s grip like a compulsion.
Thinking of all the abused, tortured,
denied, enslaved the words
themselves revolting
trying to convey –
Almost, as if God
had called time up.


© Mary Melvin Geoghegan