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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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COLETTE OLNEY

 

Colette Olney

Colette Olney, “Irish, ex-convent girl, mother of three”, is based in Bandon and teaches Adult Education writing classes in term time. She also facilitates writers’ groups in local public libraries and has been writing poems for “years on end”. She has enjoyed some successes with publication in Cyphers (Ed. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin), Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times and The Stony Thursday Book (No. 6, Ed. Tom McCarthy). Shortlisted at Strokestown Poetry Festival, Colette also won the overall international Davoren Hanna Poetry Competition “thanks to Charles Simic and Matthew Sweeney”. She has had readings at Temple Bar, Dublin; Triskel, Cork; Kinsale, Kerry and Roscommon. “To turn a buck”, she also contributes reports and features to “a local mag- The Bandon Opinion” and began her working life (late 1970’s) as a theatre critic with RTE local radio.


 

Search Party

We weren't even close
not in the next field
nor even the same hinterland –
the townlands we could scarcely name –
for shame.

Delivered there, we spread
from Artitige to Clashreagh, the sun
was busy on the distant bay: around us
young crops striving in the new light
and the weeds thriving.

At liberty to trespass, we walked on
in rows, seeking nothing exact;
a wind-plucked scarf, pink chiffon
quivering on stubble; snagged:
pin money from her purse or
pearls... perhaps a trail of them
for us to follow south to some
forgotten prone-to-rip-tides cove
where she was surely
only cold and dazed
or dreaming: something

of her choosing: auspices
of fuchsia’s colours in a fancy knit –
a garnish for her flesh,
her native bones.

Our strong coats seemed
threadbare. Magpies
flashed, voluminous and spic
and span – their aprons,
scapulars. My throat felt tight.

Time passed. Word came.
A body found. Our phones
gave us their giddy tunes.
Someone remarked
on the strength of the signal,
our extensive coverage.
The sun continued polishing the vivid sea.
A bus brought us back to the village.
We returned to our lives.

©2009 Colette Olney

Author Links

Olney on 'Cork Moments', RTÉ Radio 1 (25.03.05)

'My Mother's Office' by Colette Olney on RTÉ 1's 'Sunday Miscellany' (02.05.04)

Profile at The Poetry Society

 

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