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Image by Patrick Hendry


the madrigal, volume iii.v

For Joan

by jennifer redmond

Go home,  

she said from the riverbank.

But mum?

transmogrified into

a river  rock.

Her  hair, riotous green moss

wet and sparkling

her face indurate.  

I live here now, go home

I like being  in the  flow

like the splashing

like the cold

like the phosphorescent moon

glistening  on the rapids

Go Home!

But mama?

Go! go on  your  way,  find  your  own body  of  water.

I will rest here


to the thrum of the maelstrom

and the surge of the torrent,  

there is so much to see and do.  

Don’t stand there in the river  like some Charybdis

Get on  your  way,  find  your  own  flow

and  watch out for  the undertow

I am happy  here,

the reeds entertain me

and the other  stones are company.

It suits my  humour  –

the quiet gloom of the shallows.


Her words rose like bubbles on the surface,

They pooled and frothed in gyres

and were gone.  

What if the river  floods?

I said in anguish

You always think  the  worst, she said

her  features  washed away  by  the deluge  

mossy hair  fanned out,

fronds  waving  soothing

more rock  than mother.

If that happens, I’ll have a  time like no other

might even end up in the ocean.


My tears tumbled down increasing  the disgorge

swept away, unheeded in the spray

and somehow adding  to the load

for she became dislodged  

and sunk  to the silty bottom.




I breached the surface and descended to her  world

The spirits of the  water  swarmed around

Hauled me through their  sluice to the break.

Gasping  later  on the sodden bank

I called a  final time

White  water  beating  on my  heart.

No answer

full-fledged stone,

solid gone.

Jennifer Redmond is an artist and writer from Cork in Ireland. She contributes regularly to The Visual Artists New-sheet in which she reviews and critiques exhibitions, and new art writing. Her interests lie in experimental , short and hybrid forms of literature. She is interested in collaborative projects involving word, moving image and sound.

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