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12 Sep17

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collections –
“The Silence Unheard”,
“Goater’s Alley”
“A Lope of Time”,
Shoestring Press;
“An Unfinished Sufficiency”
Salmon Poetry;
“Another Morning of Quiet Pleasures”,
Soaring Penguin;  
“Where Acid Has Etched”,





Miss Hathaway Sweeps Her Path in Autumn 1916

     i.m. of the women ‘canaries’ who suffered mental and physical problems
     due to the toxic chemicals they worked with in the factories
She sees they have scattered gold
where the gate once hung
to tempt her from the path
to tempt her to cross the cracks
they even placed a black cat
beyond the boundary
she knew safe. She will not sing
though they call her canary.
Her yellow hand swoops
a feather from the path to sweep
the gold to shelter by the blind
daffodils, bound since March
when they pretended dead – fallen
innocents in a time where diatribe
reigns and generals
remain at the rear. She recognises
each passing person’s greeting
knowing the code:
a hand half-raised – the salute –
the head inclined to the left
– the warning –
or a nod which means she must leave
within the week. Speech
is not exchanged.
When he who comes with words lingers
where brambles guard the path
she will close the air
where the gate once hung. If the time
prove auspicious she will pluck
a snowdrop to light her way.

Ruth O’Callaghan

in collection Vortices, 2016 (Reprinted 2017), Shoestring Press,
ISBN 978-1-9103234-8-9