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Eilín de Paor



the poet

Eilín de Paor lives in Dublin, where she works in services for people with disabilities – a field in which she's studying for a PhD. Her poems have appeared in numerous places, including The Stony Thursday Book, Banshee, Howl, The Waxed Lemon, Abridged, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Flights and New Ohio Review. Eilín collaborated with Damien B Donnelly on their pamphlet, In the Jitterfritz of Neon, and sub-edited Issue 2 of The Storms: a journal of poetry, prose and visual art.

the poems

Anchor Stitch

00:00 / 01:13

            Once he had asked and I said yes, we flew

            to London, Mum and I, budget, red-eye,

            trawled the costumeries of Soho,

            the Liberty remnant troughs, returning that night

            with six metres of duck-egg satin, two of lace chiffon.

            We borrowed a form from her friend Joann

            and for six months, I shared

            a bedroom with that silent twin, 

            draped in muslin mock-ups, pinned

            with panels of interfacing, lining.

            I worked with ceremony

            in cotton gloves like a magician—

            shaping cap sleeves, scoop neck, empire line,

            added thirty covered buttons along the spine, 

            three hidden tapes to bustle up the train.


            Afterwards, the dress became a headless Havisham

            stuffed pert with acid-free tissue paper

            in a vacuum-sealed box with viewing panel,

            waiting in the attic for a daughter to claim her

            and now, failing that, staying on as ballast.

Why Poets All Wear
Sturdy Boots

00:00 / 00:58

            Forget mists and honeydew, 

            poems aren't drawn in subtle hues,

            words are born of mud and blood, 

            wrenched panting from the sludge and scrub.

            Pull on your toughest pair of boots. 

            Tie the laces skin-blanche tight.

            Hitch a pack onto your back. 

            Anchor nets around your waist.

            Scour the earth for worthy clods, 

            fingers stained by foraged weed,

            forearms bared to better feel

            the sting and flay of briary twigs.

            When night and hunger 

            leave you weak, 

            gnaw wild roots, 

            suck bird-scorned fruits, or 

            blistered, bruised and labour-torn, 

            scavenge on through muck and thorn,

            in thrall of ever brighter gems, 

            hidden just beyond the dawn.

Back at the
End of the World

For Barbara

00:00 / 01:00

            This is how you came to an unnamed spit 

            of dunes and winter-flooded fields:

            the caravan park was too crowded that summer, 

            your mother couldn’t stand it,

            so your father drove out, turned off, 

            picked a field, made an offer.

            Clay puddles up in copper pools

            where we trudge now through marram trails 

            carved by long-scrapped dune buggies,

            kept up by horses, dogs, the children of the children. 

            At the sedge-break to the waves, sea pea and holly catch

            the pebbled sky, cast back blues to the wheeling terns, 

            who dive for fish to bring back to their island mates.

            We dive our feet into the coarse-grain sand, 

            choose old songs on our phones—

            sing along to the terns, to our mothers.

Publishing credits

Anchor Stitch: Howl – New Irish Writing (Issue 23), and shortlisted

  for the 2022 Red Line Festival Poetry Competition

Why Poets All Wear Sturdy Boots: exclusive first publication by iamb

Back at the End of the World:  Local Wonders Anthology (Dedalus Press)

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