Jack Grady is an American-born poet based in Ballina, County Mayo. Grady is a founder member of the Ox Mountain Poets in Ballina, County Mayo. His poetry has been published in anthologies and literary journals, online or in print, in Ireland, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. He was the first Irish-based poet invited to the annual Festival International Poésie Marrakech, and he read there at its third edition in April, 2016.
In her eyes, he sees an anger
harder than onyx.
In her breath, he hears a silence
more thundering than drums.
In her stance, he reads
the muzzled rage
of ten thousand women
raped in war.
Though he loves her,
he dares not touch her,
for fear he would find in his hands
the disinterred bones of Srebrenica
or she would turn to him
the cold carcass of her cheek
the mute contrition
of his lips.
The Muse Declares Her True Geometry
I am not counted in steps or in feet,
or in meter (for that matter),
or even in beats. I am not even
the pause before an inhalation,
nor am I shaped into rectangles or squares.
My spirit cannot be bound by a four-line stanza,
each line with four feet or three or four stresses,
or by dozens of stanzas identically the same.
Don’t force me to split
into tercets or couplets or box me
in a sonnet. I am neither
trapezoid, cylinder, nor quatrain.
I am the geometry of the soul and its sound.
I roll to the rhythms of ejaculation and death.
I am free in the ocean
with every gasping breach and breath,
and I resonate to the lobtail
of a hungry whale.
Our Self-Hypnosis of Happiness
Let us delight to be alive despite
suicidal states and warring states,
impoverished states and nanny states,
and every intrusion of misery and madness.
Let us indulge instead the hypnotic state
in a self-hypnosis of happiness.
Let us romp in a reel with the straw boys
to bodhrán, squeeze-box, and fiddles.
Let us dance at the crossroads
and wear leprechaun hats
for the amusement of Europe’s masters
while they deny us fiscal relief
and applaud us fools
for ‘we’re not Greece’.*
Let us nod at our wettest bog and reveal the secret
of a golden reef that lies beneath.
We will stop laughing when they find it
and we mine it for the leftover grams they grant us;
but, for now, let us declare to the world
we can still lay claim to what remains
of our sovereign domain:
our whinging wind and rain.
*Quoting Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan, 2011.