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I Ask My Mother to Sing

Li-Young Lee – 1957-

She begins, and my grandmother joins her.
Mother and daughter sing like young girls.
If my father were alive, he would play
his accordion and sway like a boat.

I’ve never been in Peking, or the Summer Palace,
nor stood on the great Stone Boat to watch
the rain begin on Kuen Ming Lake, the picnickers
running away in the grass.

But I love to hear it sung;
how the waterlilies fill with rain until
they overturn, spilling water into water,
then rock back, and fill with more.

Both women have begun to cry.
But neither stops her song.

 

 

photograph Rose Cook

 

The Irish Times: Poem of the week: ‘When‘ by John O’Donnell

When    John O’Donnell

 

 
And when this ends we will emerge, shyly
and then all at once, dazed, longhaired as we embrace
loved ones the shadow spared, and weep for those
it gathered in its shroud. A kind of rapture, this longed-for
laying on of hands, high cries as we nuzzle, leaning in
to kiss, and whisper that now things will be different,
although a time will come when we’ll forget
the curve’s approaching wave, the hiss and sigh
of ventilators, the crowded, makeshift morgues;
a time when we may even miss the old-world
arm’s-length courtesy, small kindnesses left on doorsteps,
the drifting, idle days, and nights when we flung open
all the windows to arias in the darkness, our voices
reaching out, holding each other till this passes.

 

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photo Rose Cook

Thank you New Zealand and a Big Yes for International Women’s Day March 8th ❤️

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Poems in the Waiting Room project

I am honoured and happy to have my poem Love’s Camel shared in a poetry card to be left in medical waiting rooms, rest homes, hospices and prisons throughout New Zealand. The poems are presented in a three-folded A4 pamphlet, printed on both sides of the card. These free cards may be read and left on site or taken away for sharing or further reading.

Each poetry card contains a children’s poem, a haiku, plus poems from NZ and international poets.

The poems are also transcribed into Braille, bound into booklets and distributed to interested members of the sight-impaired community.

For Brigid, for Imbolc 💚 and for my own mother of course, a midwife, she birthed me in February

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Brigid’s Day

 

 

And so, it snows for her.

February opens white, to shine around

and she brings us together –

this midwife, this fertile goddess of the field.

How we love her, that she brings light.

 

And Seamus’ wife speaks on the radio

of how he loved Brigid particularly

and all womankind come to that,

which she celebrates by reading his love poem

The Clothes Shrine for Herself and herself.

And there is love on this day of Brigid

and we are not afraid.

 

 

note: Seamus Heaney’s last words were a text to his wife, Marie, saying nolle timere (don’t be afraid).

 

poem and photo Rose Cook

From my new book ‘Sightings’ which is available from me or:  info@greyhenpress.com


 

 

London Grip Poetry Review – ‘Sightings’