Lucy Holme

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the poet

 Originally from Kent but now living in Cork, Ireland, Lucy Holme is a poet and mother whose poems have featured in The Liminal Review, Púca Literary Journal and Re-Side. She also has work forthcoming in Southword, Marble Poetry, Poetry Bus, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal and new online poetry journal After... . In April 2021, she was a recipient of a Munster Literature Centre Mentoring Fellowship with the poet Grace Wells, and is now studying for an MA in Creative Writing. Lucy's debut chapbook, Temporary Stasis – shortlisted for The Patrick Kavanagh Award – will be published by Broken Sleep Books in 2022. 

the poems

The Haunted Kind

00:00 / 01:29

           I can tell you all I know about awakening
           under scratchy winter blankets
           in the half-light of Sóller’s horseshoe bay.
           A view of the promenade, a 1950s

           sepia vignette.


           Off season. Tramuntana, olive-scented.

           Better with fewer bodies to watch our story unfold.

           Nights were cold in April although the days

           still had their welcome pockets of sun.


           We couldn’t gauge the depth of one another’s heart,

           so we handled them gently, like rare species.

           Bared faults before they were revealed,

           pushed shadows out.


           One night when I awoke,

           I felt a presence in the room that wasn’t you.

           Saw a pale hand turn the knob and then retreat.

           You said you sensed it too.


           Ghosts were all around us in the verdure,

           on the skipping sand.


           You told me of your cleverest friend,

           about your country’s complicated past.

           I kept my own history vague

           for fear of breaking the spell.


           The claims we make, early in the day,

           I just can’t lie and these are my worst traits.

           Laid bare, they shift like sediment on the shore.


           You take the sadness, add the words,

           mash them into something you can use,

           a cleansing poultice for old wounds.


           Best remember who you said you were,

           before the ghosts gather
           to call you out.

La Yegua

00:00 / 01:38

            Brown burnished gold, silken

            flank shivers with sweat.

            She comes near to sneeze, to stomp

            then leaves in a kinetic blur,

            a muscled sketch from Duchamp,


            I lay my palms flat as her muzzle

            sniffs and strong jaw chomp-chomps.

            She studies me. Lashes dark and wet,

            angles fine as cut glass.


            She resists form. After all, she is so young.

            They shout whoa pícara! Click their tongues

            when she rears and fumes.


            The bridle constricts blood flow,

            breath heaves as it tightens.

            Expansion curtailed, power diminished.


            I reach for her, but she eyes me with disdain.

            Turns to rise on hind quarters,

            lope like six beasts conjoined,

            across the prado.


            Every fly that lands creates a twitch

            that sends her in circles,

            proud breast raised skywards.

            She refuses to be scavenged,

            to be bled dry.


            Now I know her name, Carletta,

            I visit each sweltering day and build

            a life for her. Count the summers

            she has been on display.


            We greet each other as — not quite

            old friends — but something close.

            We are of a similar temperament:

            enraged by things we cannot convey.


            We speak a different language,

            but I can sight-read the low simmer,

            her impatience with her teachers.


            Against the rope fence, I hold

            her reins, white-knuckled,

            a luchadora they will try,

            and fail to tame.

Altair Shines
for my Beloved

New Year's Eve, 2019

00:00 / 01:23

            You are above him now,

            an eager light, just off starboard bow.

            Unbodied alpha aquilae, aflame.


            As I, far from inky ocean sprawl,

            search the city sky,

            mapping longing and loss.


            Shroud me in your polished glow,

            Altair, so I might have courage

            beyond tonight, onward to dawn.


            This year, grief cut me off

            mid-flight,

            when I had tried so hard to soar.


            It snatched what I couldn’t bear to lose,

            gifted unexpected treasures

            for which I had no room.


            Reason had me choose

            what I loved the best, resolve

            bade me solemnly to forget the rest.


            But if our eyes lock through you

            at midnight, we’re halfway

            back together.


            So tell me, eagle eye,

            nestled in the aether

            can you make us strong again?


            Can you help us plot our own

            small constellation, far from

            the flare of repercussions?


            To reconcile, so we might burn

            at full intensity once more?

            Just as you do.


            Altair, light the course home

            for my beloved, as he navigates

            the dark Atlantic path.


            Know that I am also at sea,

            pacing these cold corridors. Waiting

            for sorrow to loosen its grip on me.

Publishing credits

The Haunted Kind: The Honest Ulsterman (February 2021)

La Yegua / Altair Shines for my Beloved: exclusive first

  publication by iamb