Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Here is a lily, love.
See that y'never doubt me.

I have things to do this morning--
I can't confess them, and even if I wanted to,
they have burned the churches down in Belfast and in Derry.

Here is a kiss, love.
Do you need a promise, to know that I am true?

Bodies are fragile things,
and that is why I touch yours so tenderly,
as if you might be torn away from me in an instant.

You might, love.
There are still snakes everywhere, no matter the fairy stories.

In her palace sits a queen, and she has everything.
Still, her fingers are never satisfied unless they make a rope
to fit my sweet white throat.

I am a banshee, love,
and so I must scream. For you though, for now, I whisper.

God made everything in seven days--
that's what a good Catholic girl can do.
I have inscribed little crosses on the pipes and in the powder.

Remember me, if I should fail.
I have cut a lock of my red hair where your lips have been,
and nested it in a silver locket for you to keep.

Here is a lily, love.
A sticky for the Easter rising. 

I am not much, love, but I'm yours, no matter what happens today.
I am just red hair and some spit for the Union Jack;
a prayer for Mary and the thing that I must do.




hedgewitch said...

Love is a dark mist in this--an Irish mist that is intoxicating and debilitating, perhaps? Or simply the love that beats in our blood for whom it wills. The image of the queen is both woman regnant and a Medea-like feminine bringing death and fear as she takes what she wants/must have, then loses anyway. Or so I read--regardless,splendid, flying words here, Shay, whatever the denomination they spring from.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Just love the voice here - must be read with an Irish lilt, I feel. Falling in love is often a thankless affair - we offer our paltry selves with open palms hoping the object of our passion will accept the gift, treasure it and treat it with care.

Susan said...

1972 in Ireland did indeed see explosions in Derry and Belfast and Northern Ireland--dim memory here. Bloody Sunday didn't help! A lily may likely end up on a grave of she/he who dies in an instant. England was blamed--dear Queen who turned Irish into banshees. I love playing my "tapes" on all the allusions in your poem as I read the tragic story and imagine the lovers. How perfect for St. Patrick's Day! I think of him as the one who nearly destroyed the pagan landscape of Ireland--removing the "snakes"--and I am glad this poem attests to their presence still (though I know your refereence isn't a positive one).

Jazzbumpa said...

This is so powerful.

You always impress me
and this might be your best ever


Marion Lawless said...

1972, when life was an endless summer & a highway without end... Loved this, Shay. ❤️ xo

Marian said...

Still snakes everywhere, oh yes indeed.

Outlawyer said...

Yes--this is like a monologue in a play and reads very effectively--though should have a lilt as Kerry says (only it does.) k.

Björn Rudberg said...

The way you laced this the love with the backdrop of war and bombs got me thinking of the closeness of love and death.. there is always a sense of urgency and deeper passion in such juxtaposition...

Mama Zen said...

I love the voice, and I love, love, love the snakes everywhere line.

Cloudia said...

And a thing to do...oh to be 19 again [1972]

ALOHA from Honolulu

Anonymous said...

My inner redhead is a Irish queen older than Maedb, I think -- her burden is purity of heart weighed down by the nightmare of history. Fine noble carriage in this, fierce and resolute and tragic. I always thought you were a Fenian. Dem love-snakes are Patrick-proof.

Margaret said...

St Patrick has always fascinated me. I imagine he would laugh at the tall tales. I think of him as s brave soldier for his faith - perhaps a lonely one.

Snakes aplenty, and I'm not talking the reptiles - man is often far more dangerous than the wild animals. I don't know what happened in history in 1972, but many Catholics over the centuries have gone "under" to fight the good fight. The lilly is often a symbol of purity I could be way off, but I read this as a mother to a child - the love is just so tender.

Sara said...

Spooky, but an interesting tale. I agree it needs an Irish voice. My Southern one doesn't do it justice.

BTW I loved this verse:

"Bodies are fragile things,
and that is why I touch yours so tenderly,
as if you might be torn away from me in an instant."

Aw. Now that beautifully written.

Lolamouse said...

Reads like a beautiful Irish folktale. Love it!

Laura said...

"I have cut a lock of my red hair where your lips have been" an intimacy of love that is true… tragedy is endless, like the snakes.

Susmit said...

I loved the last stanza....So deep, Beautifully penned!

Jennifer Wagner said...

Happy belated St. Patrick's Day, irish lass!

Ella said...

A lot of sass in this one~ I agree there is myth and magic tied in a slip knot-when it comes to love~

Well done

grapeling said...

half a world away, my brother was adopted that year. yet this voice evokes that time ~

Lynn said...

I can see the whole thing.

Mr Puddy said...

O.K., now my turns to say something for you ...
Are you ready ?
Listen clearly, O.K. ? I only say one time.
Ready ?

MEOW !!!!


my heart's love songs said...

aye, and the Irish brogue 'tis...

but where are the Lucky Charms? you know they're magically delicious!