Ezra Maloney is writer and student based in Dublin, Ireland. He has been published in a variety of student publications and newspapers and is currently working on his first poetry collection.
There is something ancient in the air
this brutal landscape
flat as the back of your hand.
Your hair stands straight as beach grass
Standing in fields lousy with peat
as in the distance you can still hear
the beating of drums
The call to action of connaughtmen
Whose footsteps this ground remembers.
The wind rises and the sea spits
Over the beaches stiff with salt and history
From carraroe to clifden –
Connemara remembers her native tongue
A language that will not be vanquished.
(Beatha theanga i a labhairt.)
On a winter’s day you observe the land –
Where beauty meets terror along the edge of a coast
Where walls built by long-dead hands still stand
Where seaweed glistens on lonely beaches
facing this land
And know it as your own.
Sadness silenced me
like a glove over my mouth.
Caught by surprise
it pierced my heart
like a child’s balloon,
with pin-fingered hands.
Torn from sleep by some dark thing
Watching hope sail like lost balloons
across the darkened sky.
Tamara Miles teaches college English and Humanities. Her poetry has appeared in Fall Lines; Pantheon; O’Bheal Five Words, Tishman Review; Animal; Obra/Artifact; Rush; Apricity; Snapdragon; Crosswinds Poetry Journal; Whatever Our Souls, Cenacle, and Oyster River Pages. A 2016 contributor at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a resident at Rivendell Writers Colony in August, 2017. She has an audio poetry journal/radio show at SpiritPlantsRadio.com called “Where the Most Light Falls.”
Spiny hotel with vacancies, pits,
ant caverns, acne scars,
jester’s hat, crown
hard sponge in my closed palm,
punchy like the massager I bought
for my feet at the health food store,
which I loaned to my yoga
instructor (she never gave it back).
It leaves imprints on my fingers
that could be used in forensics,
and with that thought an urge to get
in the pond, lie down, face first,
be discovered all mossy, poetically
dead, a ghost who haunts
the sweet gum tree.
Spiked hair. It rolls, tumbles,
pinball, prize – hides a tiny green
instrument of torture,
pointed ball and chain, swinging,
a world in an eyeball, globe,
a crucifixion grape.
Bullfrog, your skin like a Spanish olive,
your blotchy body hid in swaying grass,
sunny throat that bellows blasts of the blues
between a threat and an invitation,
so kind to introduce me to the pond
at ten a.m. for yoga on the grass.
I haven’t known too many better hours,
or less demanding, simpler times of bliss,
out here in my peaceful meditation.
When at your shore I roll my red mat out,
seat myself to gaze ahead at green depths,
into woods beyond, where a buck protests
my interference with his lovemaking,
I go green myself, I go dark and deep,
crave only a silent moth as my witness,
will myself to seek nothing but thunder.
The companion voices in your chorus
are masters of acoustics in the night
and will wrestle you down for a female —
others among you, I’m told, are silent,
strategic types who wait rather than fight.
Oh, bullfrog, what we do for the mating,
the certain grasp, so brief after the wait,
or for the ballistic lunge and tongue strike
that signifies a different, dark hunger.
It ought to invite awe,
a snowy owl, a-flight,
prey proudly carried through
pines in winter’s cold hours,
when even mental boughs
are glittered with fine frost.
Behold her in reverse,
her feathers still glowing.
Think of nothing else save
the true sound she questions
out at night to remote
half-believers who may,
or may not, hear even
if they listen, proving
more deaf than dumb to this
language of tree-roosters.
Try, in vain, to follow
close her swift, retreating
wings, immortal as we
are, coming through dusky
woods, our fingers clutching
tightly to us a love
docile, surrendered, but
still breathing on its own.