Poetry by Mary O’Malley


Space is expanding fast

And the dark places pulse.

The tides rise or the ice

Sick of melting reverses.

It cracks and cuts

Into the land like skin disease.

People are turning into plastic

But that giant orange poppy

Is glorious as a kiss

And the lovers, her red dress

Billowing in a parachute swirl

As he pulls her into the dance

Sharp-suited, her resistance

A bluesy show,  know only this

and tomorrow,  and for now

tomorrow is going their way.


Looking back from some distant excavation

they’ll find in a cave under the rubble

tweets, a blog or two, the text fading in the light.

They’ll study them with wonder and say

‘They were primitive but they made these marks’

and will puzzle over the jottings on water.

They’ll know how it ended, the fire and the ice

‘But why did they stop’ they’ll ask,

those curious algorithms, ‘using stone and papyrus?’

 GALWAY 2020

The streets and swamps of this festive town

are awash with lights and homeless children.

The Circus is here and hired clowns spin

a dizzy web of drink and fun

over the bodies of sleeping men

till the tide goes out and daylight creeps in.

About the contributor

Mary O'Malley
Mary O’Malley was born in Connemara, Ireland. Her eight collection, GAUDENT ANGELI was published by Carcanet in 2019. She has served on the council of Poetry Ireland, held the Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova University and has held Residencies in Paris, Tarragona, New York and NUI Galway. She also lived in Lisbon for eight years and taught at the Universidade Nova there. She is a member of Aosdana and has won a number of poetry awards in Ireland and the U.S.,including the Heimboldt Award 2013.

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