Noel Monahan – Aphrodite in the Snow

Profile Noel Monahan LE P&W Dec V Two 2018

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Aphrodite in the Snow, poems by Noel Monahan

Noel Monahan has published eight collections of poetry. His most recent collection: Where The Wind Sleeps, New & Selected Poems, was published by Salmon in May 2014. He has won numerous awards for his poetry and drama. His work has been translated into Italian, French, Romanian and Russian. His most recent plays include: “The Children of Lir” performed by Livin’ Dred Theatre. His poetry was prescribed text for the Leaving Certificate English Course 2011 and 2012. His seventh collection of poetry: “Cellui Qui Porte Un Veau” a French translation of his work was published by Allidades, France in October 2014. An Italian selection of his work was published in “ Tra Una Vita E L’Altra”, published by Guanda, 2015. His work appears in the recent Anthology of Poetry “Windharp” Poems of Ireland Since 1916, edited by Niall MacMonagle and published by Penguin, 2015. A new collection of poetry entitled: “Chalk Dust” was published by Salmon Poetry in May 2018. This is Noel’s eighth collection of poetry.

Aphrodite in the Snow

I awaken to the surprise of seeing you
Stretched naked outside my window,
Your ivy hair full of snowflakes,
Earrings of frozen ice, blizzard of pearl powder
For your face. Fresh snow begins to blow
Across your navel, curves about your pubic bones,
Lodges between your thighs.
I know you drifted here.
The wind shaped your limbs, your snow white girdle
And now the wind of forty voices sings:
Spem In Alium in the snow,
Choral whispers of hope in the singing bowl of winter.
A car passes with head-lights on, someone is scraping a driveway
And I’m not sure whether I’m looking at the evening or morning star.


Nothing less than
A splitting headache
To her father Zeus.
Wing-beats of an owl at night,
Our breath of life,
Watchful wisdom,
Bestower of olives to Athens,
Queen of the Parthenon,
Demure, untouched by man,
Patron of same-sex love.

Unhappy Prayer

When crows were white
And Gorgon’s blood revived the dead,
Silenus, the pot-bellied one
Mounted an ass, headed for the city

To meet Midas,
(Urban chairman of the golden handshakes)
And there in the market square,
He defended
His anti-natal thoughts:
The best thing for man
Is not to be born
And if alive
To die as soon as possible.

© Noel Monahan