Faye Boland – Discordance

P Faye Boland LE P&W Vol 1 2019

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Poems by Faye Boland

Faye Boland was highly commended for the Desmond O’ Grady Prize 2019. She won the Robert Leslie Boland Prize 2018 and the Hanna Greally International Literary Award 2017. She was shortlisted in 2013 for the Poetry on the Lake XIII International Poetry Competition. Her first poetry collection Peripheral focuses on displacement and was published in September 2018 by The Manuscript Publisher. She has had poems published in The Galway Review, Headstuff, Tales from the Forest, The Shop, Poetry Ireland Review, Orbis and other publications. She is currently finishing her second poetry collection and is a member of Clann na Farraige writers group in Kenmare, Co.Kerry, Ireland.




I have talked up
this adventure:

A famine road to

but you are not enticed
by its mystery.

I am enchanted by sun
playing with umbrageous trees,

but you drag your heels,
throw yourselves down.

A fox cub steps out in front,
stares us down,

slips into the forest.
We still talk of that moment,

when we were blessed, caught
in the pupil of fox’s eye.


Hear her bark.

Already, the taste
of blood in her throat,
flesh in her maw.

A flash of vixen
brushing the edge
of your dreams.

When they scalp her,
sell her pelt,
her cubs will perish,

her spirit quenched.
The sun still rusting
in her fur.


I have promised you heaven on earth,
dug deep to find it:

birdsong, wildflowers —
heather and gorse —
russet sunsets.
Tucked up in our feathered den

under star-sequinned skies
I tell you stories

of foxes and hounds.
You are richer

for the brush
of my vulpine touch.

Follow my scent.

Hear my yap
sparking the night sky.

Robert Leslie Boland Prize Winning Poem 2018


Pádraig toils the land,
plucks stones from the soil,
tills, sows, reaps,
his spine curving
over the boulder of his shoulder,
eyes alight with rainbows,
the sun rising and setting
behind soft green hills.
When the earth digs deep
under his nails
his soil-crusted hands
feel its bone and marrow.

He crafts a home
from stone he breaks
with a sledge, choked
with bare-knuckled hands.
The wife he places in its heart
warms it with her light,
breathes life into it.
So too will
successive generations.


Patrick’s world is a cubicle,
cornered in by colleagues.
His vista a silver sliver,
table weighted with a pyramid of papers,
technology, grey as his sun-starved face.
He sees banknotes grow like leaves,
a paler shade of green,
their rustle discordant
with the pulse of earth,
the cadence of his forefathers’ green hills.

You Are Not Ginger

Their insults
are not meant for you.

Your hair is auburn
the colour of Autumn leaves,

glossy as the squirrel’s coat
a shade darker than fox.

You are not a foreign spice
but rua like egg yolk,

your hair warm as sunset, flames,
radiating the sheen of copper pans.

The colour worn by film stars —
O’ Hara, Hepburn, Kidman

who made men’s hearts beat faster,
as you will soon.

And your freckled creamy skin:
constellations of brown dots

exploding like fireworks
in the sun’s heat.

Think of them as kisses – scores
speckling your face, torso, limbs

one from each person
who knows you’re beautiful.

Piazza Europa

My shutters open onto a balcony
garlanded with red geraniums
and the Piazza Europa
where a fountain plumes.

Now, mid-day sun closed out,
I hear a scooter straafe,
a dog’s cough echoing
in a skinny street.

When I rise, I will feel
the cobbles under my feet,
the sun tightening
my burned skin.

And everywhere I walk,
the scent of oregano.

© Faye Boland