Clare McCotter – Two Poems

poetClare McCotter’s haiku, tanka and haibun have been published in many parts of the world. She won the IHS Dóchas Ireland Haiku Award 2010 and 2011. In 2013 she won The British Tanka Award. She also judged the British Haiku Award 2011 and 2012. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on Belfast born Beatrice Grimshaw’s travel writing and fiction. Her poetry has appeared in Abridged, Boyne Berries, The Cannon’s Mouth, Crannóg, Cyphers, Decanto, Envoi, The Galway Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Iota, Irish Feminist Review, The Leaf Book Anthology 2008, The Linnet’s Wings, The Moth Magazine, A New Ulster, Poethead, The Poetry Bus (forthcoming), Poetry24, Reflexion, Revival, The SHOp, The Stony Thursday Book and The Stinging Fly. Black Horse Running, her first collection of haiku, tanka and haibun, was published in 2012. Home is Kilrea, County Derry.

The Paper Wall

Strained under black waistcoat satin
his spine crouches
over the last of the day.
Pausing for a second
he blots his brow
it is summer in New York
the thermometer’s artery
still throbbing
even though the ceiling fan
will soon judder to a stop.
Writing Declined he wonders
if his daughter is asleep
her tiny fists crocus corms
dreaming under snow
by the time he gets home.
He will walk softly
from her room
checking all windows and doors
before listening to the news
on the big brown Philco wireless.
Chairs and so longs grate
the rustling air
clock decanting workers
into thrumming Friday streets.
He signs his name
stretches and writes the date
setting on Anne Frank’s visa application
a damselfly in a crystal half sun
paper weight.

The Empty Village

Rolling down the dirt road to Ein Hod
canvas on the big rattly truck
flaffs like a torn cloud.
Talk is of manifestoes
anarchy and impermanence
spontaneity and play
the native primitive restored.
to a woman and man
smoking Gitanes
wearing navy work clothes
descending on a village empty as dawn.

Its seven hundred year old symmetry
of site and structure
a found object
waiting in white excavated rock.
Small serpentine streets
cool courtyards
sweet with carob and fig
wild marjoram and geranium
drinking fountains
domical squares
too quaint to disappear
brought back from the brink
by poetics and aesthetics.
Dadaism and dance performed in a mosque
remodelled on Café Voltaire.

Only a stone’s throw from house-cum-studio
Janco painted frescoes in
whitewashed after Purim.
Dancing damsels
dogs, laughing heads, Conversio
the writing on the wall
restored with surgical scalpels.
Unconcealed had they dug
a little deeper
the place Abu Faruq touched
in forty eight
leaving for the last time his home.
Forty three years later
out in the dusty diaspora
he died a camp refugee
refused right of return
to pastures
buried beneath a sea of cyan pine.
Navigated by a modest couple in a sardine can.




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1 Response to Clare McCotter – Two Poems

  1. The “Paper Wall” stunned with the conclusion–that image of the damsel fly, so short-lived-frozen in the crystal paperweight–the stroke of his pen falls with the weight of a death sentence as he thinks of his own sweet daughter–a poem as nuanced and complex as life and history.

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