Atlantic Currents: Connecting Cork and Lowell, brings together sixty-five writers from both sides of the Atlantic, featuring a collection of stories, poems, essays, songs, and parts of novels. This January, Trasna features selected writings from this 2020 anthology. Featured this week, the poetry of Alex Hayes.
(Warsaw to Shannon)
We’re leaving the sea of clouds behind now,
Suspended and frozen amidst the blue,
I looked for you in my chest and for all
those years saw nothing but mirrors and those familiar, youthful eyes staring back.
Soon I’ll be home, and you still five years dead,
Slowly rotting, embalmed with unsaid words.
You were more alive in this last week than
in sixteen years past, shrouded in shadow,
Forever more mystery than mother.
The glass within is shattered now,
I finally feel the pain,
You’ve shown me the bleeding never stopped,
You did not die in vain.
I have hung my heart on your window pane
and watched the curtains billow in the wind,
Neither of us knew what it would contain,
Yet when you learned, you never did rescind
that surety of grip that keeps my heart
balanced, level beside open window,
The maintenance of balance is an art,
While oblivion hungers from below,
And the weight of shrapnel lodged in my flesh
threatens to cast my heart into the dark,
And jagged metal tears your palms afresh,
And the mingled red of our wounds, so stark…
I marvel at you and I keep the faith,
You will not fail come fire, come storm, come wraith.
The gentle arcing of her back
envelopes the cradle in shadow,
Tender gurgling, furtive laughter
which reverberates around the room
until it rips the roof away
and bathes the figures in cloudless sky.
Her wide smile buttressed by nine months
of terror and anticipation,
A patchwork cat of childhoods past
stitched together with crystalline twine
teeters smugly from the gable
mewling warnings as it is able.
She cannot hear them, nor can he
so absorbed are they by ritual,
He reaches for the thousandth time
for the polished marble of her face
abraded by a thousand nights
of visitation to this lost place.
The cat explodes in a shower
of leaves edged in golden filigree
that whirl above the silent pair
in a shimmering cyclone of air
composed of atoms unreal
and existing purely in darkness.
The man awoke to the rustling of leaves
falling gently from the eaves
of the house that he shared only with ghosts.
He was awarded University College Cork’s Patricia Coughlan award for his writing in 2017. Whilst studying at UCC, he attained first class honours in English and Philosophy.
He lives in Waterford with his fiancée Tina and their perennially bratty cat Luna.
Perched, gleaming, upon a precipice,
Home to colonies of lichen,
The glass mountain defies elements,
Chipped and tarnished, but it remains whole.
The people that made their lives here
at the foot of this shining peak,
Have let the detritus of ages
calcify around their culture,
Forgetting the days when mountains walked.
In time they prayed to the mountain,
To purge the malady from their hearts,
So they could meet each other’s gaze,
Feigning reassurance of good health,
But the mountain could not hear them.
They remained marooned in their own minds,
Fumbling with symbols and noises
in futile attempts to pierce the eyes,
Wishing to be as transparent
as the enormity they worshipped.
The people of the mountain fractured
steadily across tribal lines,
And broke each other before their God
to wash away silence with blood.
Silence prevailed, as it always has.
When their thirst for war had been sated
and the time for them to heal had come,
They turned their backs on the mountain,
Proclaiming it to be mere glass,
and so they lost their sense of scale,
Casting their eyes down into the dirt.
Then the mountain moved; the giant awoke,
It obliterated their history
with a single step.
The oblivious titan lurched forward,
Inscrutable in motive, meaning, form,
Until by capriciousness or design,
It keels over and rends the earth apart,
To slumber again,
Be worshipped again,
And teach again the lesson of scale.