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An international online magazine that publishes Neo-Surrealist poetry in English.


Issue Two

  

MEDBH McGUCKIAN



Chalice Orchard


It is now, always, the bloodless past,
The wounded present, so unlike the groomed
Groves that do not mind being swept
Away. Every third thought that flounders
In me is dressed in a mist, with a train
Of blue and black moths.

These grandfathered byways are unchanged
As ghosts are, thatching made of wings
Of white birds, wattling of silver.
The translation of the white is rather
The white of flowers that are conditioned,
Perfected by the camber of a wing.

Fields of dreamflowers unnoticed by
The dream me – why do I feel that the
Seven roses require some explanation,
Some further readjustment, some continuation
Of the story? So that eyes may gradually
Become fortified by unvisited gardens.

I have occasional glimpses of imploring
Rose, lying in a room bare except for five
Books, about what is called 'death' –
A vogue, a blossoming, a failure, a few
Stars. It was a sad year, we seem to be
Going on with the old threads

Or it looks threadable by slight
Fingers. Did I call him to me,
Had he come too near, he is waiting
By the icy runway, my hand is wonderfully
Surprised, my hand is in his
Hand, and is my contact with Amen.

It is my lifeblend to write towards
A lessness, I should daydream
In the night as I used to. Then the night
Is cut in half, as afterwards, he had walked
Into me. I have my litany, my minute
Knowledge of sleepless angels.




Encounters with Dust


I avoid books about the present or last war,
The war has never been. The air
Is thinning itself for the breakup of winter.
Breadths of breeze requiring sun
Slice through any and every complaint
To a dark kind of summer.
Moon scuffed at its edges, brighter,
Narrower, smears its self-improvement mirror-
Image of giveaway light into the rich world
At the basement of Europe.

A dull church bell in a parody of greeting
Uses all the languages of the body
To revamp your soul and get that space
Between your thoughts. The day may be
About your spirit, she chimes in with a ribbon
Of praise in your daily gratitude journal,
You find a little spiritual intervention
In your electronic in-box via Skype,
Morsels of frenzy and balm, from those
Electronic churches, before hitting the treadmill.

Remembering the voices that used to fly ahead,
I should have kept both voices alive
In my mouth where shadows fester.
We saw the pale dove-grey coffin,
Overgrown like a stage coffin,
Go down step by step unto the well.
Like hearing the rain in hotels, we dropped
The primroses in at the bottom of a steep,
Brazen grave laid like an old rose,
Surrounded by black and white butterflies.

Roses lit like lamps, it burnt yesterday
With a bunch of our red and white carnations on top
Of it.Its very long after afterglows
Glazed some flicker of the snowdrop
Pallor into the next lap of the year.
There is no way we can make the eyes
Of the blond Christ on his slim cross
Look at us, wrists twinkling with diamonds.
And now some sachet of holy dust
Sets my book alight, in another field.






A Wineskin in the Frost


The floor, if there is one, is a space
Of black words giving out their scent.
The way before the way before
Is a word as common as bitterness.

Like a garden tightening its grip,
The string of her loins threatened to snap,
Bracing her shaking legs and burning knees,
Her swollen,dusky-red feet.

Remember you must leaf the dark-fanged
Rose through the lid of the room, when sorrow
Curdles your foxglove cheeks and the window
Behaviour of the field ends with a river.

Suddenly, I am to have no innerness
Any more: on Holy Saturday, I enter
The rosary. I open it, set it in motion
Till it is closed. Everything that is started

Has to be closed, especially the stillness
Of the rosary, that something was left
Without a proper answer. I was born
In the rosary, time is a rosary,

Each person is a bead, if one suffers,
We suffer too. The chain of belonging
Has no obvious pulse but to live and act
The power of the chant, the power of the number 3.

Not everlook, not ever look, at the raising
Of the most important flagpole, but others'
Hands, one another's mutual perceivings
Upturning the dark to sleep upon a mirror,

Since no-one knows what the past will be
Made of next (snow dying in the lake,
A hood laid on the mountain). I have to
Find my body in his movements

Weighted in places that had no real weight
In them. Propelled out of the sensation
By concepts that did not bend around me,
Walking the length of the field and back.

His body amplifies my hips and the surface
Of my body which is feminine, as if the  motion
Were happening to, rather than emerging from,
The body.  Undulations from the feet

Cycle up to the torso, I turn into a gentle
Wave, dissolving away from life
Into someone else. My momentum
Was pruned, and the only way I could

Achieve an intentional fall, was to
Become plural, to reassemble, to reform
My own colouring each dawn,
And haunt myself, seeking an outlet.




Medbh McGuckian is from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is a former writer-in-residence with Queen's University, Belfast. Since 1982 she has published fifteen volumes of poetry, the latest three being The High Caul Cap (Gallery Press, 2012), Blaris Moor (Gallery, 2015) and Love, the Magician (Arlen House, 2017). Her poems have been widely anthologised.


 



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