Anne Fitzgerald – Pilgrimage to a Stranger

Anne Fitzgerald LE P&W May 2019

Download PDF Here

Pilgrimage to a Stranger, poems by Anne Fitzgerald

Anne Fitzgerald is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and Queen’s University, Belfast. Her poetry collections are, Vacant Possession (Salmon Poetry, 2017), Beyond the Sea, (Salmon Poetry, 2012), The Map of Everything, (Fort Foot Press, 2006) and Swimming Lessons, (Stonebridge, 2001). She had edited, produced and designed four anthologies of young adults’ poetry; and founded two school publishing houses, in addition to She teaches Creative Writing in Ireland and North America. Anne is a recipient of the Ireland Fund of Monaco Literary bursary at the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco. She lives in Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland. For further information see  and

Pilgrimage to a Stranger

You lead the way
over fallen leaves

gone amber-crisp
under crunch of foot,

thread uneven ground
past lichen-kissed

headstones, careful not
to wake the underworld.

Not long after, about
seven plots on you stop

me in my tracks
saying, here it is.

Woe, I say
as if halting a horse
stung by a wasp.

Here is your Mother,
you say, planting a kiss
on my right cheek.

You mean the woman
who carried me, I say,
placing my left palm

on the grave’s body.
I trace hollowed names
fashioned to withstand

brute weather systems,
and gossipmongers whispers
from a woman I never knew.


Thanks for the invitation
to your poetry launch, shame it clashes
otherwise I’d be there.

Jim’s at a conference in Kerry.
Jack will be reading his own fine
poems in Berlin or is it Beara.

Paddy maybe at Ardnacrusha,
discussing molecular properties
Pollaphuca and the fall of water.

Joe launches his own volume.
Ivy folds dinner party napkins
Noreen is flying in from Malibu.

Prudence arrives a week early.
Joyce has a touch of a cold,
Rita finds it awkward to get to.

Trevor will be cleaning his oven.
Lucy has no interest. Leticia plain
forgot. In fact they’d all rather

be anywhere else than amongst
a room full of poets. Nothing more
dangerous, as the stakes are so low.


Did we say
there may be a difficulty.

Did we say
it could be tricky.

Did we say
there might be no way back.

Did we say
shock will release slow

burning incendiary
devices in your head.

Did we say
your thoughts will have

little revolutions to sustain
you while
we pick up the pieces.

Did we say,
say nothing till you hear more.

© Anne Fitzgerald