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New Irish Voices
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Liberty Walks Naked
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Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
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Munster Literature Centre

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MARTINA EVANS

 

 

 

Martina Evans was born in 1961 and grew up in County Cork. Her first collection of poems, The Inniscarra Bar and Cycle Rest, appeared in 1995 and was followed by three further collections, All Alcoholics are Charmers (1998), Can Dentists Be Trusted? (2004) and Facing the Public (2009). She teaches Creative Writing at the City Literary Institute and Birkbeck College. She is also the author of three novels and the prose-poem/novella Petrol (2012). She lives in London with her daughter.

 

 

 

 

Switch

 

after Sean O’Ríordáin

 

Ta eirim aigne ar an cailín sin that girl has ability

of the mind, Stanley would say in Irish class

as I sat with a Physics book open on the desk.

 

I thought I was reaching for a different plane

but now when I read O’Ríordáin’s poem

where the man Turnbull changes places

 

with the horse – Turnbull’s eyes starting out from

that suffering horse’s pelt are somehow

Stanley’s eyes:  the colour of Bass beer

 

under the big triangle of light-brown curly hair

which sprang out like Athena from his head –

refusing to stay down to one side.

 

He didn’t hide the white wart remover

painted once on his knuckles

and was nearly always patient for the five years

 

I wasted in his class after Monty beat

the devil into me in Burnfort National School

with a few scraps of the hated language.

 

These days I puzzle on my own

over O’Ríordáin and Dineen

os a chionn sa london – over in London.

 

Physics sees Time as a fundamental arrow,

there’s no way back, only patchy memories.

I make my living from teaching poetry now

 

stand like Stanley, all my warts on show.

 

 

©2017 Martina Evans

 

 

Author Links

 

Poetry at Poetry International

Martina reads 'Petrol'

Poetry in Pelmeni Poetry

 

 

 

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