5 poems by Lorraine Carey


    Irish poet and artist Lorraine Carey’s work has been published in the following: Prole, Atrium, The Blue Nib, Ariel Chart, Poethead, The Honest Ulsterman, Proletarian, Sixteen, Quail Bell, Live Encounters, Picaroon, Laldy, The Cabinet of Heed and The Runt Zine among others.
    A runner up in both the Trocaire / Poetry Ireland and The Blue Nib Chapbook Competition 2017, her artwork has featured in Three Drops From A Cauldron, Dodging The Rain and Riggwelter Press. Her debut collection From Doll House Windows – Revival Press is available from www.limerickwriterscentre.com


    Counting Backwards

    I lay there on the trolley,
    the light stung my puffy eyes,
    bloodshot from a lack of sleep.
    The machines, their occasional
    bleeps, hushed chatter of theatre
    staff, a sterile roar,
    as I lay there alone,
    The syringe approached speaking softly,
    your eyes doing the work.
    Hazel they were, if I recall correctly
    as I suddenly wished I’d waxed

    you asked me to count back from
    that’s when consciousness slid
    away, darkness swallowed me whole
    and they got to work,

    scraping your remains from me
    as I slept. I couldn’t even dream
    of a different outcome,

    or who you might have been.

    They Brought Grapes

    The old hospital lies empty,
    the huge windows
    no longer reflect
    dead eyes of patients
    staring out at daffodils,
    sheltered by the grey wall,
    mesmerised by the greyness
    of it all. Watching for strangers
    dressed as mothers, fathers
    with bunches of grapes
    and resentment.
    Clock watchers, their fakery
    and smiles, perfect Wednesday theatre,
    relieved to return to their silence
    and Stanley ranges, whiskey,
    bingo and gossip.
    The smell of their freedom,
    a stench really, crisp and sharp
    like autumn air.

    They shuffled in their furry slippers
    from bedpost to window
    window to bedpost,
    the grilles imposed on the peeling frames
    the paint flakes huddled in corners,
    little piles of snow, never to melt.

    Nightfall meant snores and sniffles,
    the weeping moans
    of despair and sadness,
    as much a part of darkness
    as any dream.
    The silence now deafening.

    It Wasn’t To Be

    you going grey after me,
    combing, coating the strands,
    the wiry silver with purpley paste
    your gloved hands, stain free.
    Unfurling latex, warming the
    pot indulging in a sweetened brew.
    The china cups with dainty bluebells,
    their gilded edges snug in saucers.
    Helping each other into
    woollen coats, shelter from winds
    whipped off chiselled hills and sneaking
    under flapping hems,

    it wasn’t to be
    becoming like them
    folk that shuffle in Sainsbury’s queue.
    Arthritic hands, violet veined, sifting
    through change in awkward purses.
    Jammed coins in stitched joins,
    elicit whispered curses from
    behind. Unfolding crinkled bags, for
    porridge oats and full fat milk
    liquid silk, creamy and rich for
    latte froth,

    it wasn’t to be
    shopping for flats, abandoning heels,
    their elegance wasted on curving spines.
    The plush pile, softened mother’s
    echo, you want comfort, not style
    A rush of shoppers, boxes lined with
    tissue paper, the flip lids like gaping mouths,

    it wasn’t to be,
    despairing at bits heading south.
    Comparing skin tags, liver spots
    our cloudy cataracts, trying to focus,
    joining dots. The bi-focals framing sparse brows,
    yellowing smiles of shrinking locals, their nodding
    greetings, ghostly bows

    it wasn’t to be……..


    The earth took them back,
    not in three foot coffins
    but wrapped in browning rags
    like slabs of meat. Tiny frames
    thrown into clay, marked by
    nails in a wall, a haunting
    of winters and soft, summer rain.

    Milk filled breasts tingled,
    leaked as tears fell, dried hard
    and stiff, their crusted aprons soured
    the air, the smell a pungent
    reminder of their sins.
    Their raw fingers and cracked skin
    bled from days and nights in
    laundry cells, as nails
    rusted red on the wall.
    No granite headstones, nor simple
    wooden crosses for the babies wrenched
    and dumped with the placentas
    they preceded.
    Thrown in like broken dolls by those
    who strolled floors in starched
    white habits,
    stiffly buttoned up, their hearts
    hard as the marble gifted
    to the bishops.
    Their necks adorned with rosary beads,
    glassy nuggets of worship kissed
    by thin lips puckered in reverence.
    They carried Jesus everywhere,
    their superiority silently choked them,
    brushed off the guilt,
    the heinous dust, whilst the rust
    grew thicker coats on
    the nails in their hundreds.

    The Interruptions from Brent Geese

    Their cackles and quacks
    disturbed our chat, along the beach.
    The tide far enough out to make it back
    in dry shoes.
    Brent Geese, seventy of them
    sparsely scattered, some on blind dates,
    other singletons plodded.

    They assembled, poked the sand
    their spoony beaks scooping for algae
    and eelgrass.
    Couldn’t hear myself as their high shrills,
    their broken notes invaded our space
    until we sidled to dunes
    the marram’s blades rooted to sand,
    swayed like seaweed waltzing.
    I spoke softly as my eyes filled,

    just as my footprints
    shoehorned spongy beach,
    and the tide crept in
    with a cunning roll,
    I trudged back alone.





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