Creation and Criticism

ISSN: 2455-9687  

(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal

Devoted to English Language and Literature)

April 2016

Five Poems of Marian Relihan


Marian Relihan, born on August 11th, 1954, is originally from Kerry, Ireland. After completing an Access Course, she did a B.A. Honours in European Studies with Russian. Part of the course involved a period of study in Moscow, Russia. Her works have been published in journals, magazines and the anthologies of local writers and one of her poems won first prize in the annual Ballydonoghue Journal. In 2014, Marian published her first book of poetry titled Skyland, which was a great success for her. At present, she is teaching Creative Writing for Kerry Education and Training Board and can be contacted through her email: marianrelihan@gmail.com



1. Exiled
 

A bitter black wind to my back

I left, never to return

Beaten, locked, trapped

In a goldfish bowl

My litany was not the rosary

Referenda on the origin of the foetus

Loud talk by ‘pro lifers’

While teenage girls died in fields and

Dead babies were washed up on beaches

Frocked men claimed,

Dominion over my body

Tighten your belts, said the man

In the Charvet shirt.

 

I left, never to return

But   In my dreams          

The mist on the purple mountains whispered

The blue smell of the sea called me

My feet tingled for soft green

On a the Piccadilly line to Rayners Lane

I glimpsed bluebells through the trees

They rang a bell in my heart

It was time to go home

Looking down before landing in Shannon

Excited the yearning 

I left, I might return



2. Kerry Loves Me

 

Kerry loves me like my mother

Before me and her mother’s mother.

 

Child of the rushes, ferns, moss,

Bog, brown water glashas.

 

The limestone, stones,

Furze bush, blackthorn.

 

I drew my first breath here,

Lungs opened by wild gales.

 

 

Kerry men’s big hands built

The wayside temples

 

To the Virgin Queen of Heaven

In my birth year naming me

 

Lighting my way in the dark

Calling me home to mine.

 

The Atlantic rushes to greet me.

I am well known to it.

 

Warmed by turf and bog dale

I am home Kerry loves me.



3. Rattoo

 

Ozymandias, you can despair

For we have the mighty stony phallus of Rattoo

Hard on for a thousand.

 

Reaching up the starry skies of North Kerry

Alone over level lands where the Cashen

stretches wide to the ocean.

 

The Marian Virgins keep their distance

lit from above and below

they circle with a longing look

On their chalky faces

Only Sheele-na-Gig has mounted the north window.


 

4. Welcome Home

 

Let’s gather our hearts and dreams of kin and country.

Let‘s go to the field where the old house stood,

remember the ones that left and the ones that stayed behind.

Is there an old rose still blooming there?

Inhale the woman who planted it.

 

Let‘s   go to the meadow and roll in the sweet hay,

where they made love on a warm summer evening.

Walk  where the bog cotton brushes your ankles

and heathers perfume the air.

Bring tea to toast the lost labours that warmed the hearths in winter.

 

Let’s go to the shore

and feel the slippery seaweed that made fields to grow  potatoes.

Gather sandy shells and pocket them for memory.

 

Let’s go on the mountain to see what gods saw

and raise our arms to give thanks to Anu and Bridget

For the mighty and the brave that walked before us

Walked through the desolate blights that darkened the skies

Kept themselves and their kin alive.

Walked through the streets of New York, Boston and London

Look  through a window  on Kerry Head

and wake in the heaving slum, a brave new world

Those that stayed kept the candle in the window

For the homecomings and goings

The Roses came with their smiling white teeth

Their Masters in ology’s, nourished,  and polished.

 

Let us gather wherever we meet and connect with our kin

Wherever you have come from, welcome, welcome home.



5. The Well

 

My people’s spirit left

The grey stone enclosures

Slipped away from

His suffocating piety,

Incense and fear

Back to the wild

Water, green and stone

Made their temple

Threading around the well

A pattern in their DNA

Linked to the sun god

And their ancestors

 

Away from Rome Rule

They threw their sorrows and joys

Into the well spring of life

Keeping faith with

The mother goddess

Now called Mary

In sheltered nooks

Whispering their prayers

Into the wind

Birdsong their choir

No finery or silver required

In their open free temples.