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New Irish Voices
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Liberty Walks Naked
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Done Dating DJs
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GERALDINE MITCHELL

 

 

 

 

Geraldine Mitchell

Geraldine Mitchell’s first collection World Without Maps was published by Arlen House last year when she was also awarded an Arts Council bursary. She won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2008 and lives near Louisburgh, Co. Mayo.


 

 

 

 

_____

 

San Juan de Dios, Granada

Small Mercy

 

 

_____

 

 

San Juan de Dios, Granada
           --for no reason

 

 

I am washing dishes

    my hands half-plunged

in lukewarm suds.

    Between sponge and plate

an image—

    that paupers’ hospital

last seen twenty years ago:

    the heat

the flaking plaster

    shuffling men

in thin pyjamas

    felt slippers in the sun

liver-spotted spectres

    in and out of shade.           

 

Another day

    a village café in the Pyrenees.

It’s Wednesday.

    First drops of rain

lead pellets             

    on the plane tree’s palmate leaves

pockmarks

    in the pink-brown dust

our bare legs

    splattered

and the owner’s tow-haired grandsons

    balancing our plates

        across the yard   

            in slow procession.

 

But mostly

    it’s a scene I cannot place:

somewhere in Spain

    the south

a bend in the road

    the shade of fig trees

a low wall mounted

    with a stiff wire grille

and we are driving past—

 

the sort of moment

    banal and everyday

when nothing much is going on

    when you see

there is no turning back  

    just the on and on

around another bend

    for no reason.

 

 

 

 

____________

 

 

 

Small Mercy

Achill, Nov. 1st, 2010

 

 

Enfolded in an empty house

    for living company a spider

    and a wilting basil plant

I am rimmed round by stone

 

rolled back

    to the thick centre

    of silence

where the sun sings

 

to a crumb of bread

    and the spider’s missing leg

    becomes the focus

of the morning’s distillation.

 

Last night they jostled

    at the foot of the bed

    the unnamed dead

asked for nothing

 

save that we keep them

    in our minds

    where the air is

where we are.

 

Left meekly

    as obedient dogs

    the last chill of camphor

breathed back into

 

the river-rounded stones

    of my penitential tholos:

    updraught of air, fresh earth,

the sweet breath of children.

 

 

©2012 Geraldine Mitchell

 

 

Author Links

 

'Waiting Room', Mitchell poem in the Tribune

'Funeral': Mitchell poem in Southword Issue 17

'Quiet Quarter': Mitchell on RTÉ radio (April 17)

 

 

 

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