Eithne Lannon is a native of Dublin. In 2015/2016 she had work published in Headstuff; Bare Hands; Tales From The Forest; Skylight 47; A New Ulster; Agamemnon Dead Anthology; and forthcoming, The Ogham Stone, 2017.
She has hosted Ardgillan Writers’ Open Mic, the Gladstone Readings, read at Skerries Soundwaves Festival, and Skerries Donkey Shots Festival. She was Artist in Residence in Loughshinny Boathouse, Dublin, 2016 (Fingal Arts Office).
Song of my People
My people are formed from this soil, this air,
born of leaves and woodlands and streams,
of birds and acres and seed.
They are misted bogs in late summer heat,
the sweet burnt turf of bitter days,
the sweat of rain on meadows of hay.
My people are river-ripples, fishing nets cast
beneath dark mottled skin. They are rocks
and pebbles and sand, shape-shifting through grief.
Their sound is the sea’s constant voice,
its wild tongue unloosed in the air, a wind-cradle
wrapping its wide arms around me.
My people are the fine threads of history circling
through veins, the hidden mind-pleats that leap
into being, my buried dialect emerging.
They are the dust that settles on soil, light
lifting off water. They are my roots
and my rootlessness.
I carry you my people,
and you carry me.
I will echo forever our song.
His mottled hands shine like bruised thistle heads,
blue veined lines I had traced as a child are soft
and raised over thinning bone, his oak-pleated skin
is knotted with age, there’s an earthy tone
to the marrow of his gaze. Black bog seeps between
my toes, swallows dip in a cool damp mist,
and still, the air trembles to his touch, he is elemental,
as though he has fallen out of the world, slipped
through the river’s silvery skin; chameleon
water mingles with his flesh, old minutes
climb through the charged air. I cast
my net on dead shadows and catch
in the brittle light, his hidden wounds exposed,
all of his eloquent sadness unveiled. I wonder
if I absorb in that moment all that he is.
Our footsteps unsettle dust,
disturb a woodloused threshold,
damp walls curdle, leak out absence;
a house making strange, lingering
ghosts released from wilted
armchairs, from skeletal roof ribs
and the gaunt corners of every room.
They slip through my fingers,
tumble through the ransacked spaces
into the empty air of the long lost.
And through the window an uncanny
sea-light cradles the island, something
stirs in the whispering drapes,
my goose fleshed skull peeled back and pulled
into this place of your hallowed kin,
of wordless speech and your mother-tongue
reaching to you from somewhere
beyond the aching silences, a voice
resonating outside your skin, stroking
my lips, my mouth, my tongue, its unearthly
presence a temporal cross-over touch.