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Image by Jason Ortego


the madrigal, volume v


by linda mckenna

In old age I will move to a hill town,
far from the sea, where the river
is just a rumour; set my back
to the patchwork of fields and tiled
farmhouses. Like the town I will
look inward, contemplating myself.

All the narrow streets and alleys
settle at one of two squares, the heart
of the first a squat, frescoed church.
The damp has lifted the Madonna
and angels right off, leaving only
a pleat in a blue cloak, a shimmer of halo.

On Saturdays, the second attempts
a market, three or four stalls sufficient
for the black-clad widows and spinsters.
The traders shrug over small loaves
and hard, sour cheese; on high days,
haul out a half crate of blood oranges.

Linda McKenna’s debut poetry collection, In the Museum of Misremembered Things, was published by Doire Press in 2020. The title poem won the An Post/Irish Book Awards, Irish Poem of the Year in 2021. In 2018 she won the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing and the Red Line Festival Award. She has had poems published in a variety of publications including, Poetry Ireland Review, Banshee, The North, The Honest Ulsterman, Crannóg, Acumen, Atrium, the Poetry Bus, Skylight 47, Lunate. She is from County Dublin but has lived in County Down for over 20 years. She is working on her second collection.

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