Jenny Byrne – Four Poems

Jenny Byrne lives in Shankill Co. Dublin, and is originally from the seaside town of Bray. Being near the sea always feels like home. Her husband is Galwegian and they love spending time there as often as they can. Always curious and drawn to learning she has a varied career from media to Montessori teaching and is currently working towards her CIPD HR qualification in Learning and Development. Jenny engages with writing as a creative way to express various aspects of life. She wrote a lot in school before a demanding career and young motherhood took centre stage. With the support of very good people, she is finding her way back.


It was all a trick
exotic, bewitching
conspiracy to defraud a man, subsume him
actress, muse, life her dais

Fertile ground unwanted
pressure to wed, talk of the town
risk the mask falling, reveal himself?
Janus, he wanted another life; another
saw her as witch, bitch, vixen

She bore a boy
her golden sun
it almost killed her
poisoned by her vipers’ tongue
she delivered her penance.

Sapere aude

The wise child
omniscient, sensing, absorbing
full up, engorged, overflowing

No reprieve, corridors closed,
dam bulging, deluge certain
walks within the gilded mausoleum,
sham, chaos mire

Instinct knows what can and cannot be said
perception is reality they say
a ten year old cannot play with perception

Sensitivity has no place in dysfunction
systems are not made to be broken
wise children bearing all weights
eventually crumble.


Boarding a plane alone
How is anyone terrified of that – at forty!
Why would you? Is he happy for you to go without him?
They asked
You’ll be lonely

She’d cancel
No, no she wouldn’t
She’d go – sure the deposit is paid
Cheering herself choosing the right bus to the resort
Baby steps

The road wound away from Verona
An hour or more it trundled
Anxiety rising, the airline’s cheap chianti wearing off
I am mad, I am, quite mad
It’s only a week, it’s only a week

Arriving, minuscule amongst the majestic Dolomites
She felt she could, should, disappear
Incanting mother words;
shoulders back, act together, up you get

Entering her transient home she looked up
Capella Santa Barbara
How did they build it all the way up there?
A beacon balm of light
cast down from the great height of the cavernous church

A lady with electric blue glasses said
hello, asked her name
Maternal instinct perhaps
They still write.

Small (for Paula)

She didn’t like her name
Pauline people called her
That wasn’t even right!
Seemed to attract permission
to alter

her namesake suited her
At not much over 5 feet and just 7 stone
she was hardly a giant
How did I create this Amazonian child
she’d beam.

©Jenny Byrne


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