2 poems by Bernie Crawford


In the haggard at the side of the house

where apple trees no longer grow, 

clusters of old-fashioned daffodils,

their tattered petals yellow as egg yolk.

A prayer catches my throat

and I offer it to the woman

– ‘cause ‘twas surely a woman – 

who took time to plant these bulbs

between feeding, milking, caring, 

cleaning, scrubbing, birthing, rearing

and putting the dinner up 

for the men coming in from the fields

and I offer it too to another woman in an African village,

who plants orange marigolds in a dented oil can.


As soon as my back was turned

death slipped into the day. 

What if I hadn’t worn that blue dress,

painted the back door yellow 

rather than that shade of beige,

made lentil soup for lunch 

instead of tossing a green salad,

stayed home and finished

reading The Red Tent

and not walked out to Tawin 

to see the seals 

(who, by the way, weren’t there,

they already knew

and swam out to meet you in the bay).

If I could play out 

the minutes and the hours 

of that day differently, 

would you still be here?

Here we are in that evening.

Your breath slips into the out tide,

wracks back and forth on brown seaweeds. 

You loosen your holdfast

and let oarweed row you out

beyond the rocks.

Buoyant, you push back clouds

and blaze the sky with your sinking sun.

About the contributor

Bernie Crawford lives in Co Galway and in 2019 was awarded a bursary by Galway County Council. Her poetry has been published in The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, the North magazine, and elsewhere. She won first place in Poetry Ireland/Trocaire competition in 2017 and was placed in The Blue Nib Chapbook Contest No 4.

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