Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume One, December 2020.
Moyra Donaldson lives in Northern Ireland. She has nine poetry collection, Snakeskin Stilettos, Beneath the Ice, The Horse’s Nest and Miracle Fruit, from Lagan Press, Belfast and an American edition of Snakeskin Stilettos, published in 2002 from CavanKerry Press. Her Selected Poems and The Goose Tree, were both published by Liberties Press, Dublin. Moyra has also collaborated with photographer Victoria J Dean, resulting in the art book Dis-ease and with visual artist Paddy Lennon, resulting in a limited edition book of poetry and paintings, Blood Horses, from Caesura Press. Her latest collection, Carnivorous was published by Doire Press, Spring 2019. https://www.doirepress.com/rapidcartpro/index.php?product/page/110/Carnivorous In 2019, Moyra received a Major Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
In the Movie
My young mother walks across a beach,
the tide is out, I’m in the pram she pushes
over the wet sand; the man beside her says
he’d bring me up as his own,
if she would come back to him.
She remembers freedom,
Armagh dance halls,
her fingers playing tunes
on the button accordion;
arms around him
on the back of his motorbike
before her father came
to bring her home where she belonged.
She drives me home
to where her husband waits,
my father –
and we all live in the bed
she’s made for us.
Not this Time
Nature is offering her condolences –
the high sky, the geraniums,
the gleam on the horse’s coat;
seedling, raindrop, rainbow,
stone and bird, weight and lift –
my heart is having none of it.
1st September 2020
From our tower, we watch the rising harvest moon,
full ripe burnt orange orb, autumn’s colour,
cut through, bisected by one thin, dark line of cloud
and it’s as if we’ve never seen the moon before,
or it’s a memory of moon, familiar and strange,
both beautiful and alien, ours and not ours.
We have locked the gates, raised the drawbridge.
Whose turn is it tonight to play the castle Fool,
speaking truth, veritas in vino?
Where would I be without you?
Circling some other planet.
Rock of Ages
Fear was the rock on which our faith was built,
fed in mother’s milk through generations,
in prayer and catechism, chapter, verse.
Fear was my nourishment, it formed my bones
and sinews, grew me up in contradictions
and in all the ways of loss.
My poor mother envisioned me in hell, eternally
gone, Persephone in her dark god’s lap, but worse –
no possibility of coming back.
A living god
has always been
a fearful thing.
How often have we driven this road along the edge of the lough and every time there is something to catch us. Today it is the snow on the top of the Mournes, turning the landscape into a Japanese painting; geese are scattered across the shallows, feeding. Crows and seagulls make one black, white flock above the plough. A hawk sits on a telegraph wire.
Despite the argument we had earlier, we soon settle into the particularity of this place.
A folding together
of time and time again. Flick through the days; the images seem to move. Life plays out.
Nothing stands still and nothing is forever. There is this moment when the mountains’ snow caps catch our eye.
a single moment
a book of days, winter snow
on the horizon