Sally McHugh- New Poetry

 Blue Atlas

Tracing the grids of the blue atlas
my finger runs down the page,
charting the north Atlantic ocean,
Africa with its Sahara winds blowing,
Latitude, longitude, lines criss-cross,
I lower my touch across
the Tropic of Cancer,
and the Tropic of Capricorn.
Changing course at the Cape of Good Hope
I cross seas into the Indian Ocean,
cruising down under Australia
skirting Van  Diemens land
into Cook’s territory around the Tasman sea.
And there it is,
New Zealand,
our future home.
In my top bunk bed I anchor this atlas,
filled with excitement,
dreaming of our new start, exciting voyages
by curious shores and distant lands,
exploring the expanses of the sea.
We never went,
don’t know why.
Waves of small talk, utopian worlds
crashing in on a ten year old child.

Until Today

You got the news today
your mother was not your mother,
as you knew her.

A week old
handed out the side door so
Chrissie could not see you leave
in the big black car.

I took you and delighted in my new bundle,
straight to the church where the Christening was performed.
Then you were mine
it said so on the birth certificate
I was your mother and your dad
your dad.

Until today.

Now you know you came from
the womb of another,
I was quick to forget.
No thoughts of Chrissie

until today.

It was the way.

Was I wrong?

Thou shalt atone for the hurt and deceit
thank her for the gift of a child,
a living lie of fifty years.

But when the big black car dropped us home
and I held you in my arms
it was the truest day of
my life.

Climate Change

Love lies in the bottom drawer
neatly wrapped for another time.
Its dusty presence stirs,
rises, at unprepared moments,
settles, on a dad kissing his baby at Sunday Mass.
Tracing his finger across her face,
she smiles,
nose to nose they meet
like Eskimo’s greeting in a frosted igloo.
On my solid block of floating ice
cold as the deep lift-shaft
of an abandoned mine,
I remain frozen, adrift,
a rusty toy with no wind-up key
just out of reach
in my museum glass case.



Letter to an Unknown Man – Lover of Art and All Fine Things
(After Guy Gafotte)

Admit it Sir, if you were to die not having
lunched on the grass with Manet or
lay with Olympia on your shabby couch
you’d probably be enraged.
Your biological imperative to ogle,
objectify women for your lustful desire
springs forward like a protruding penis hiding under a monk’s scapular.
To you Sir, that painted female is no human being
she is not flesh, bones and blood like you
nor was she created from the rib of Adam, as an equal,
she’s as limp as that brain in your pocket.


The Human Species

The human species has given me
a calorific choice of glorious
guilt-ridden shit
and consequently, a fat arse
The human species has given me
a family, some of whom
I’d like to let loose down the Amazon,
then do a rain-dance to the Gods
to bring on the crocodiles

The human species has given me
an insatiable urge to be devil incarnate
to spit abuse at Sunday mass
nip naked ‘round St Brigid’s cross
dye my hair purple
and tell the boss where to get off
The human species has given me
skip loads of ludicrous crap
I’m supposed to be satisfied with

About the contributor

Sally McHugh lives in Co. Galway and started writing poetry in 2017. 'Dunmore East' was her first poem published (ROPES2018) and the following are her first set of poems to be published. She enjoys working on creative/art projects and amidst studying for a PhD she is currently exploring poetry-art which combines her visual art work and poetry in single art pieces.

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