The Woodmother and her Son

Stíofán Ó hIfearnáin
               Woodmother
 
She slipped our grasp on an airy path
between juniper wood and thorny gorse,
a perilous spot on the frontier.
 
Almost clear of the faery door,
she stumbled into Otherwhere.
 
Among fallen leaves
her spirit sleeps.
 
Though we’ve led her home,
she’s numb as seasoned elm,
 
no spark kindles
her ashen eyes.
 
 
             The woodmother’s son
 
Hard words whittled him
till he forgot his own grain,
 
miserable creature,
a go-the-road
without worth or standing.
 
This morning I saw him
dressed in his Sunday best
for his pre-planned burial.
 
The coffin’s gleam
reflects our sameness.

Translation by: Breda Wall Ryan

Page 45, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 124
Issue 124

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 124:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Poetry Ireland Review 124 contains new poems from Paula Meehan, Ciarán O'Rourke, Lizzy Nichols, Mark Ward, Gabriel Rosenstock, Özgecan Kesici, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, and many other compelling voices. Also included is Eilean Ni Chuilleanáin's remembrance of her Cork childhood, excerpted from The Vibrant House: Irish Writing and Domestic Space, a book of essays reviewed in issue 124 by Caitríona O'Reilly. Other books considered in this issue include collections from Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Mark Granier, Tara Bergin, The Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets, and the Collected Poems of the late Dennis O'Driscoll, and there's also a short interview with Thomas Kinsella along with an essay on Kinsella as poet and civil servant. Another Kinsella is this issue’s Featured Poet, Alice Kinsella, and all artwork for the issue is supplied by artists associated with the Olivier Cornet Gallery on Great Denmark Street, around the corner from Poetry Ireland.

Available now to purchase online or in all good bookstores.