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Image by Bianca Ackermann


with the martello journal

It is not silent

by deirdre maher

here on the winding Burren trail
the murmured prayer of bees
intoned over stones
like bone scorched white.
A cantankerous chorus of crows.
Everywhere your absence,
keen as the scythe’s blade.
I am come home without you,
buried in English soil.
Caramel butterflies kiss the meadowsweet
tiny birds dart through
shimmering July grasses
to a rosary of insect hum.
Hazel branches reach
across my calvary path
green cob nuts bunched.
My London shoes slip on spongey moss
iridescent green and bog-brown
past birch and elder guarding faery dell
in ferny shadows.
Hawthorns blown
divide the fields,
bowed like gnarled old men
beaten down by care and toil.
Above, the Burren hillside
blanketed in mauve and ash.
Close by in the hedgerows
buddleia going over
honeys the stillness, broken
by the shard of a seabird’s cry.
The strand where once we swam
not far now
just down the sticky tarmac road
past the ruined cottage,
trumpet flowers of woodbine
curling by the cracked wooden door
paint long peeled away.
Was it green?
Or white like the burnet rose
growing wild now on the path
curving round the pitted gable end.
It is not silent
here on the Burren trail.
The air remembers
the sighs of old women
who bade farewell to sons and daughters
across ages and oceans
the trees whisper their ancient lamentation

in the Burren beo.

Deirdre is a writer and poet who lives in London, having left Dublin in the late eighties to follow her dreams and the love of her life, with whom she lived in the peculiar and complicated institution of marriage for almost 27 years, and who died in London in 2018 after a long and heroic fight against motor neurone disease. Her work appears in various anthologies online and in print. Deirdre's prose is largely fiction, drawing on her Irish roots. Her poetry comes from somewhere between the agony of loss and the joy of composition. Her favourite place in the world is the Burren, in County Clare, and she hopes one day to inhabit a small cottage there, surrounded by plants, cats and possibly a dog, if the cats won't mind. A piece of her non-fiction will be published in 2022 in an anthology of women's writing, produced by the Centre for Women's Health and Human Rights, Suffolk University, Boston.
She completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Kingston, London in September 2020, with Distinction. Deirdre is happiest when writing, with a cup of tea to hand and her cat, Oscar asleep nearby.

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