Bernie Ashe lives in Galway city where she graduated from NUI Galway. She has been short listed for the Over the Edge New writer of the Year International Competition 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was long listed in 2014. Bernie was also short listed for the 2014 Poetry Prize at the Bailieborough Poetry festival.
Bernie has been a featured reader at Over the Edge in Galway City Library, in May 2012, and was also a featured reader with the Galway Girls at the 2014 An Béal Binn – Erris Festival of Words, Belmullet, Co. Mayo.
Bernie’s poetry has been published in The SHOp, Crannόg Magazine, Skylight 47and she was also the featured poet in the Aids West magazine Happiness is Vital, December 2012.
Sr. Predictus of the rosary beads and black habit brigade
would tell me daily my future fate,
You’ll end up selling knickers in Woolworth’s on Eyre Square.
I think of worse jobs I could do,
casting scorn on a person’s worth, by
casting scorn on honest work.
Cold cold winter daily descends
faster, yet somehow not at all.
Fog engulfs where damp stone
boundaries sit and wait for life to fade.
Low-light shadows my back yard
details hidden in uninviting lumps.
Vagueness clasps my shivering fingers
I unlock the gate on a lonely wood.
Insistent thoughts hang from pine trees
I hear your distant song of fear.
Come and stay with me this evening
let our voices guide the Solstice here.
We sing a chorus bound in rainbows
to stop the light-fall, the dark.
Hear us heal the weals of winter
a soprano note with every tick
a baritone with every tock.
The longest night to rearrange you,
slay your dragons, restore your faith.
Then wake to smell extending daytime,
light to bleach our blackened veils.
(St Nicholas’ Church)
Dressed in black and white they mount the stage
Shuffles, whispers, score sheets
sorted they begin. Candles lead Tenors,
Frankincense and Myrrh bring in
Sopranos, Base and Altos, blend colour to my ears
A tapestry of voices,
ear drums stretch to separate the blend,
while dynamic notes, rest, then fly again.
The conductor births a composer’s dream,
rhythms, tempos and beat.
Crochets, and semi-quavers
patterns of joy, faith, sorrow and grief.
I surf on notes of praise harmonised for 16 bars,
then a pause, a breadth, a break.
Love broken or fulfilled, eyes closed I absorb
fragrances of their bright choral flame.
The finale gets us clapping with
a steady percussion.
They soar another octave, merge
our Christmas childhood songs. We join
in every chorus, smiling to the end.
Emerge warmed into the night’s darkness
Part, go our separate ways
Humming softly our Christmas gifts.