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Margaret Dennehy



the poet

Born in Waterford City in Éire, Margaret Dennehy now lives between Dungarvan in County Waterford, and Cork City in County Cork. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, and in 2020, a poem of Margaret's was featured in the RTÉ Radio One Extra series, Keywords. She is yet to publish her debut collection.

the poems

Ever Full

Bithlán – Ever Full

Tobar Rí an Domhnaigh – Well of the King of Sunday

00:00 / 01:38

            A rusted ring embedded in a mooring post

            Marks the spot where ferrymen

            Offloaded their summer-Sunday cargoes

            Of 'hooded devotees' in search of health and healing.

            Rounds made, of three or nine,

            From east to west, following the motion of the sun.

            Stones, stacked in small mounds, tallied prayers.

            Pilgrims bathed their foreheads and hands in its waters

            And drank deeply of its cool, clear goodness.

            Rags of red or black

            Tied to its shady canopy of ash and elm.

            Left to flutter and fade, like leaves in the winter,

            Till they took up the wishes and woes of the bearer

            And carried them away on the wind.

            Only remnants now remain

            Of this 'fairy font' of wellness (which gave my place its name).

            A limestone plaque on the wall.

            The border of its beehive mound traced in brick beneath.

            Its sanctity suppressed in the name of 'progress'.

            Bithlán – this ancient spring of ritual and restoration,

            No longer nourishes the needs of those

            Who struggle to survive the marauding malady of our times,

            Or those in search of succour and of solace,

            Or those who seek to be healed and made whole again.

Cinderella Shoes

After Subh Milis

by Seamus O’Neill

For Maeve

00:00 / 00:54

                        Morning – a pair of black 'killer heels'

                        Lies abandoned at my hall door.

                        One, upright, standing tall.

                        The other, fallen wearily on its side

                        Like a warrior slain in battle.

                        The stiletto heel, his weapon,

                        Poised to strike his slayer as he fell.

                        A momentary impulse surges to insist,

                        That these high-rise icons of fashion

                        Be removed at once from my hall floor!

                        But the urge to scold is soon suppressed

                        As I think of the time

                        When these black sentries of style

                        (To me, a secret signal of her safe return)

                        No longer stand (or lie) at my hall door,

                        And the one to whom these Cinderella shoes belong,

                        Is gone.


00:00 / 00:37

            Their smiling faces caught in a moment by the push of a button.

            As light through lens hits silver crystals,

            A latent image is made.

            But the magic happens in a dark room

            Where, like a blind man feeling his way,

            The one who draws with light,

            Feeds film onto a spool.

            Like a priest, he prepares for the ritual that

            Will once again make visible the happiness of those

            Who believe that the joy 

            Of that snapshot moment

            Will last forever.

Publishing credits

Ever Full: Poems from My 5K (Cork County Council

  Library & Arts Service)

Cinderella Shoes / Exposure: exclusive first publication by iamb

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