Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Poems by Helen Meneilly

Jul 30, 2021 | Poetry | 0 comments

Good Friday 2021
the 23rd anniversary of the 1998 Agreement ending decades of conflict in Northern Ireland

City lights combat the stars on a black battleground,
lit red at every edge. My thumb rifles stories
on-screen, scrolling past pictures of armoured cars,
riot police, and balaclava-clad.
Appeal for calm. Refresh.
Stay in your homes. Refresh.
Youths throwing stones. Refresh.
Car ablaze. Refresh.
Bottles, bricks, petrol bombs.
Watercannon.

I tease a thread of skin from my bit lip and hang
my eyes on the moon instead. A bone shaving
suspended, unsure
if it’s waxing or waning.

__

Fortitude

I am a flesh memory of tired transgressions
skin and bone description of one sin.
inside a story I bury myself
by the tide. body of sand thick up to
the neck, a would-be funeral dress of
dirt. lips split open on the salted wind,
carved white arms, as roots, hang still. each
foot a husk of travel beside its twin.

then I rise

reverse the sunset as I ignite:
Byzantine beacon
dream-lit, calling no one
to my side.

how I die

folds into the hushed horizon.
each innocent wrist plays a
gentle drum, softly asking
me to turn
consuming a sickness
the way a flame breathes:
eating the air just to burn.

__

Helen Meneilly is an Irish poet from Belfast, who has studied at both Queen’s University and the Open University. Her work explores themes of identity, mental health, language and feminism.

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