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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
Best of Irish Poetry 2010

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Songs of Earth and Light

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MAUREEN GALLAGHER

 

Maureen Gallagher

Maureen Gallagher was born in Monaghan, and now lives in Galway City. Her first collection of poetry, entitled Calling the Tune, was published by Wordsonthestreet Press in December 2008. Her poetry, prose and criticism have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Shop, The Cork Literary Review, The Stinging Fly and others. She is an accomplished performer of her work and has read at many events, including at Cúirt International Festival. Her work has been broadcast on RTÉ. She was a prize-winner in the Wicklow Writers’ Award 2008 in both poetry and prose and the Leyney Writers’ Short Story Award 2009.

 

 

 

 

The Music Never Stopped

 

 

It’s twenty-one long weeks since her lover

packed up his battered feelings and left

her space to mull, make sense of the music

that hums and tings and thrums in this town,

this city of tribes he once saw as home,

a dream that foundered. But still his face

 

in the mirrored glass, the fronts that face

out to the river, the walkway for lovers.

She imagines him back building a home

by a meadowsweet country field, not left

adrift alone in a house in town,

afraid to tune in, to listen to music

 

he once performed so happily, music

beyond the point of rescue they traced

on their hearts, notating a trip to town,

a gift, a grace for autumn lovers;

pausing to sign at a stall on the left,

laughing and talking the whole way home.

 

He used to say where true love lay was home,

but the tone deaf do not hear the music

until  it’s too late, until all that’s left

is the forest flame planted to face                                 

the south, the sun: the sigh of a lover

trying to please his prima donna from town.

 

The affair, in the end, wore him down.

He shut up shop altogether, now roams

the world alone looking for a lover

who will make him whole. But the music

he hears is the old song, a mellow case

of the wine he longs for, the sound he left.

 

And while he searches both right and left

she waits in a house not far from town,                        

looks in the mirror and sees a face,

ageing and lived in: an image of home.

But still the ache, the sound of music

that never fades, the song of her lover

 

who left, packed up his feelings; a lover,

bound to another harmonic in music,

face turned forever to a score called Home.

 

 

 

©2010 Maureen Gallagher

 

 

Author Links

 

Gallagher's debut collection Calling the Tune

Gallagher's prize-winning essay on Patrick Kavanagh

Gallagher at Wordsonthestreet Press

 

 

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