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Mary Melvin Geoghegan – Children of the Revolution

P Mary Geoghegan LE P&W Vol 1 2019

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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. She’s a member of the Writers’ in Schools Scheme with Poetry Ireland and has edited several anthologies of children’s poetry including the Eurochild anthology of children’s poetry and artwork. Her forthcoming collection There Are Only a Few Things will be published by Salmon Poetry in 2022.


Children of the Revolution

                              for Waad al-Kateab

Her daughter Sama (Arabic for sky)
was born in Aleppo, in a hospital
founded by her father –
The paediatrician who delivered her
was killed four months after the birth.
Her father Hamza in just twenty days
carried out 890 operations and
cared for over 6,000 wounded people.

In a close-up, lingering intimacy
the sadness of hospital staff
barely aware of the camera rolling.

Before We Left for the Holiday

Everyone said Marseille was dangerous
but, apart from the graffiti everywhere
there was no hint –
On the train to Aix en Provence
there was a feeling before the diversion.
In the town underwhelmed
and suddenly there’s a stampede
with the Gilet Jaune pouring in
and the veneer is shattered..

Away from the heat in the Musee Granet
we shelter under Cezanne’s Sainte-Victore(1890).
And round the corner a tiny painting
by Fabienne Verdier genuflects to an earlier
Simon Marion’s Petit Sang du Christ(1490).

In a tomato red splash of blood
against a living background.


Ordinance (2018)

by Damien Hirst

Perhaps, in a manic impulse –
the artist caught the butterfly wings
with colours never mixed on a palate.
He assembled those hypnotic rings.

Iridescent, at the centre of each orbit
all the intricacies of the universe
concentrated in a solitary yellow butterfly.
Almost, as a cosmic mandala
in a staggering expression of light.

Fresh from the atlas of waiting to be celebrated
beyond all prejudice
just awe –

And Still that Life is There in Me

close to the Roscommon border.
There’s always a pull –
crossing over into the return
where four generations
have lived and are buried.
And still that life is there in me
as the kitten my grandmother gave
leaps from the page, stroking a longing
in a gentle purr –
the anticipation of recognition.


He’s Upstairs Writing a Book

for Peter

with the sun blazing in
rocking on a chair
at the same desk
he studied for the leaving Cert.

Though, this time –
the subject is democracy
there’s a feeling he’d rather
be wrestling with anything else.

I’ve slipped back into old ways
searching the freezer for dinner
banana bread in the oven
and gathering up wet towels.

The book will be published next year
he keeps thanking me
but, I’ve already had a reward
in his keeping the head down.

The ‘Cloth of Silver’ Fragment

A faded piece of fabric
was found hanging on a wall
in the tiny rural parish church
of St. Faith, Bradon, England.
Made from the finest chamblet silk
woven with strips of beaten silver
with exquisitely embroidered plants,
flowers, stags, dogs and butterflies.
Hinted at the only possible owner – Elizabeth 1
who on feeling threatened
by younger women at Court ordered
the ‘cloth of silver’ – the gown
costing more than a Tudor mansion
for an aging monarch to carry
round.


© Mary Melvin Geoghegan