Two poems by Anne Casey

burnt offerings

swilling cinders
of eucalypt forests burning up
and down the coast
tinged with hints of fear
singed possum hairs lifting into
clear blue air
an earthquake in Italy shakes me awake
a mother crying somewhere
volcanic embers cycling into
smoke of broken promises
women’s choices smoldering
charred remains of exiles’ lives
democracy doused with lies
and set on fire
headless horsemen prancing in the coals
blackened souls stirring
soot from scorched relics
ashes to ashes

and my mother in a box too small
to hold her all
laid in a field with all the others
when she could have flown
with the four winds
so I could taste again
the sharp tang of her loss
married to the rest

lately everything tastes of ash




Work of human hands

Beached whales in New Zealand
remind me of
vanished babes in Ireland
The awful magnitude of it all
Six hundred and fifty innocents
dying up and down Farewell Spit
Known to locals as Whales Trap
an arch of deadly sand
A chain of human hands
joined in desperation
to save the next wave
from breaching out of safer waters
beaching on this hostile hook of land
Black bodies strewn as
far as the eye can see
Human hands too that held
naked pink bodies
lost souls too small to struggle
in their own hostile territory
darkness immersing them for years
Eight hundred disappeared
without a sound
till they were found
Pulled one by one from
an empty tank filled to the brim
What strange things
human hands
to raise up or hold down
Their power to save or drown




Anne Casey’s poetry features in The Irish Times, Into the Void Magazine, The Murmur Journal, Tales from the Forest, Luminous Echoes anthology, Deep Water Literary Journal, The Incubator (forthcoming), The Blue Nib, ROPES Literary Journal (forthcoming) and The Remembered Arts Journal, among others. Originally from the west of Ireland, Anne lives in Australia. Salmon Poetry will publish her debut collection in mid-2017.




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