Jane Clarke – Two Poems

Powerful.

The Stare's Nest

Cut

I have grown accustomed to questions:
where do you come from, how long
are you here, why did you leave?

My answers say little but seem to satisfy;
how to describe sunrise across the savannah,
my father and brothers following a herd

of camels and goats or seated at noon
beneath thorn trees for shade? Who would believe
why my mother took me away,

that some morning after prayers, the women
would come for me, hold me firm for Maryan
who wields the stone-sharpened blade?

How to imagine the darkness of days in the hut,
the mat of long grasses, the ointment of myrrh
offered with love to stem the blood?

First published in Today’s Children, Tomorrow’s World, Trocaire & Poetry Ireland, 2013

Before the war

these hills were peopled with trees,
everywhere, grey olive groves
stood old and gnarled as history,

sending silver-leafed branches
wandering wide and…

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