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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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JO SLADE

 

 

 

Jo Slade

Jo Slade lives and works in Limerick. She is the author of four collections of poetry: In Fields I Hear Them Sing (Salmon Publishing, 1989); The Vigilant One (Salmon Publishing, 1994), which was nominated for the Irish Times/Aer Lingus Literature Prize; Certain Octobers (Editions Eireanna, Quimper France, 1997), a dual language English/French edition, which received a publication bursary from the Centre du Livre, Paris France; and City of Bridges (Salmon Publishing, 2005). A chapbook of poems, The Artist’s Room was published by Pighog Press (Brighton, 2010.) She was nominated in 2003 for the ‘Prix Evelyn Encelot’ Ecriture Prize (Maison des Ecrivains, Paris). Her poems have been translated into French, Spanish, Romanian,  Russian & Slovenian.  She has been published in journals and anthologies in Ireland and abroad. In 2012 she was editor of The Stony Thursday Book, a journal of contemporary poetry. She has exhibited her paintings widely in Ireland and in France. A new collection of poetry, The Painter’s House is due out from Salmon Publishing in September 2013.

 

 

 

                 Cells

                  After the cell paintings by Fra Angelico

                           in San Marco Museum, Florence.

 

 

                        Cell 1. Noli Me Tangere.

 

 

                        Where there’s no going

                         or coming

                         No coming from

                         or to

                         No knowing who

 

 

 

                        Cell 2. Deposition.

 

 

                        The mother herself was

                        and the son

                        Their blood ran in rivulets

                        down the wood

                        made its way back

                        as blood does

 

 

 

                        Cell 3. The Annunciation.

 

 

                         Sublime beauty

                         the shock of it

                         the suddenness

                         And her frail as a lily

                         pale as pigment

                         doused in snow

 

                         What came in

                         by a curve of light

                         formed unbeknownst

                         out of bare brightness?

 

 

                                                                       

                         Cell 6. Transfiguration.

 

 

                         A keystone holds the arc

                         in place

                         like the heart

                         axis of our fate

 

                         Arc perfects a curve

                         holds him

                         in its embrace

                        

                         The self and he

                         were once

                         more beautiful

                         than One could be

                         Beauty is the mystery

 

 

 

                         Cell 7. The Mockery of Christ.

 

                        

                         1.

                         A hand slipped inside the fold

                         cold fingered the heart

                         made it sore

                         Who follows knows

                         What’s more

                         hearts harden

                         turn taunt as before

 

                         2.

                         Trust no-one

                         if their feet don’t leave a trace

                         if their eyes don’t smart

                         from the sting of grace

  

                       

 

                         Cell 9. The Coronation.

 

                         

                         Her skin’s taut silk shivers

                         Pearl wings

                         white light luminous

                         moon diaphanous

 

 

 

                         Cell 10. The Crucifixion

                        

                        

                         Where lines meet

                         blur or disappear

                         or parts of

                         erase over years

                         a space brightens

                         A Way opens

                         It is over he said

                         and glimpsed the vastness

 

 

                               ©2013 Jo Slade

 

 

Author Links

 

Poems, bio and books at Salmon Poetry

Slade at Irish Writers Online

Video of Slade reading at the White House in Limerick

 

 

 

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