Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume One, December 2020.
Attracta Fahy’s background is Nursing/Social Care. She works as a Psychotherapist, lives in Co. Galway, and has three children. She completed her MA in Writing NUIG in 2017. Her poems have been published in Live Encounters, Banshee, Poetry Ireland Review, Poethead, Orbis, Abridged, Impspired, Silver Birch Press, Honest Ulsterman, and many other magazines, at home and abroad. She was the October winner in Irish Times; New Irish Writing 2019, has been nominated for a Pushcart prize, included in Anthologies; Impspired, and Of Mouth Northern Women’s Writings, nominated for Best of the Web 2019, shortlisted for 2018 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year, and long listed for 2019, shortlisted for Allingham Poetry Prize 2019. She was a featured reader at the January Over The Edge Open Reading in Galway. Fly on the Wall Press published her first chapbook collection Dinner in the Fields in March 2020.
In bubbles of colour, hydrangea
bulge between rails,
kiss potted geranium, milkwort,
Willow legged, green bamboo,
stretch towards sun.
Brown strips of worn board,
lead into earth, memories
of children who run its tracks,
pick crawling insects, pluck
later, wash hands hurriedly,
the scent of barbeque
smoke infuses the air.
It needs something, a new coat of paint,
nature overtakes it with green
sheets of mildew, algae and mould,
creeps into joints, crevices.
Patient, it waits its time, in the future.
And one day, workmen sit for tea,
the boards splintered between their feet,
their laughter bellowing out jokes,
so much the joints rattle, threaten to split,
and the table creaks.
The Dao of A&E
Friday morning, early January, the season of flu.
Three hours queuing, my ninety one year old aunt
stares at the ceiling reciting prayers.
The long stretch of linoleum, greens across floor,
one vibrant red square, two yellow strips, each side
run parallel all the way to a grey wall, orange curtains
keep us focused.
On and off the sirens, low voices in short flurry,
silence. Blue skimpy blankets cover the old people
waiting on trolleys,
‘We are very sparse with everything,’ the staff say,
I wrap my coat around her.
‘Apologises for the shortage,’ they say,
– no pillows either. I use my handbag.
A nurse with a kind voice tells us she doesn’t feel good
‘We are still seeing yesterday’s patients.’
Inside the waiting area, constant flapping door
becomes rhythm, hum of ambulance crews chatting,
another admission, another old person checked in,
from different counties, even as far as Donegal.
It goes on all day, trolley after trolley, chairs, wheelchairs,
doors open, shut, and another patient lined up to the right,
to the left, in every corner.
We waited in noise, screens, flashing blue lights dominate
periphery. Tired of distraction I give up trying to read,
with my aunt saying prayers, nothing to do,
I practice mindfulness, breathe.
A lime coloured circle centred on a random jade tile
the size of a face, takes my eye. I ponder the intention
of interior design, wonder at the madness, this bizarre floor,
then zoom back to the circle, began to reflect on mandalas,
how they contain.
Our wait goes on for two full days, and nights
before my aunt on a trolley, fasting, get’s a cubicle.
Environmentalist, political, activist, writer. Founder of; The Green Belt Movement.
Nobel Peace Prize winner 2004 for her ‘contribution to sustainable development,
democracy and peace. First African woman, and first environmentalist,
to win the prize.
All I want is to plant trees, spread a green belt across every nation.*
Born in a mud hut in Kenya, you tilled fields,
wished light to last longer, so you could cultivate
more, until your mother had courage
to send you to school.
As a child, you watched trees felled
Your courage to resist norms, refusal
to lower your gaze in presence of men.
You travelled through villages,
encouraged women to see
The tree is a little bit of our future.
Beaten and jailed many times, you said,
‘I have done nothing.
I was only planting trees at freedom corner.’
In your work reached far away countries.
We are not only losing the water, we are losing
the soil. You made your bed,
they tried to kill you.
At the centre of a circular flower garden
in Pittsburg, dedicated to Gaia, women
and children of the world, a lone ornamental
maple tree stands for your global vision,
how one small seed can change the world –
* All italics are quotes from Wangari Maatha
In Praise of Silence
As friends were busy praising your good fortune
– I stayed quiet,
an occasional nod. I rumbled, wondered,
what you were thinking when you purchased
the home of a family evicted.
We knew your bargain tossed them further in the pit,
‘they made mistakes’ you said,
as you put on lipstick, ‘and I don’t want to hear
We don’t speak of distressed children, a mother
with cancer, and a father out of a job.
We crack open champagne.
You knew when neighbours stepped in,
and it didn’t sell at the auction, banks, revenue
at war, you could offer pittance.
We raise our glasses,
praise goes on, and I’m a killjoy.
You ask how to cleanse negative energy, friends
chime in with solutions, as if pain’s ghost
can be cleared with a swoon of incense and herbs.
Burning sage will not help, neither will cedar.
© Attracta Fahy