Poems by Mary Madec


It is November and you, my love,
are crying among the apple trees,

weaving in and out of the years.

For a while we stalk our shadows
between two worlds

hoping to see the beautiful
bodies that made them.

I feel myself fading from your sight
as winter closes in.

I can’t hear your tunes anymore,

the black trees with their beards of lichen
bow to us, tears hang on for the last flurry.


but the memory of our features,
dust filling the imprint on the road.



What flies out of my breast are the birds of happiness.  
I hear the cluck of the bantam on her nest of eggs
and the sweet carol of the yellow-beaked blackbird
glowing in the grey morning,
the trill and roll of the lark notes rising, rising
into the steel blue stillness over the clearing.

When I wake it is to a new life, this, my sky,
the glance that took me from you a vague memory.
I know I have come through something important
and when you ask me if I slept well last night,
at least to myself after the struggles of middle-age
I am hardly recognizable with these retracted claws, new wings.

About the contributor

Mary Madec
Mary Madec (PhD, University of Pennsylvania, MA, NUI, Galway) has three collections with Salmon Poetry (In Other Words 2010, Demeter Does Not Remember, 2014, The Egret Lands with News From Other Parts 2019). She won the Hennessy XO Prize in 2008. She works for Villanova University in Ireland.

Related Articles

A Poem by A C Clarke

A.C. Clarke's A Troubling Woman (Oversteps Books), came out in 2017

3 poems by Neil Leadbeater

Neil Leadbeater’s latest publication is 'Penn Fields' (Littoral Press, 2019).

3 poems by Lynn Valentine

Lynn Valentine has won and been placed in competitions including Glasgow Women’s Library Dragon’s Pen Award.

More Like This

Leonie Charlton, New Poetry

Leonie Charlton’s travel memoir will be published by Sandstone Press in 2020.

Two Poems by Dilys Rose

Elegant and well-crafted poems from one of Scotland's foremost writers, Dilys Rose.

4 poems by Kay Ritchie

Kay Ritchie’s work is widely published in magazines and anthologies and has performed at various events.

Poetry by Angus Strachan

Poet and playwright, Angus Strachan won the International James Joyce Award for dramatic monologue

The Settlement-Chris Boyland

The Settlement I’d borrowed some of your words - ‘wrong’, ‘useless’, ‘stupid’, ‘useless’ (seem to have two of those - dunno - maybe one’s a hand-me-down from your Mum.) You...