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The Poems of Siobhán Campbell

ae poetry1Editor’s note: Siobhán Campbell is the author of numerous pamphlets and collections of poetry, including “The Permanent Wave” (1996), “The Cold that Burns” (2000), “That Water Speaks in Tongues” (2008), “Darwin Among the Machines” (2009), and “Cross-Talk” (2009), which explores Ireland in the aftermath of its turbulent peace process. Originally from Ireland, Campbell has lectured in the Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs at Kingston University in London, England.

Famished
In a hurl of rain

in a heedless fog

in winds that are indifferent

did you think of yourselves

out on the edge of Europe

as a trammeled people

or was the scored pill

of bread in the mouth enough;

comfort of tongued nights

the slant scald of climax –

ae bookand what you thought of

in counting the days to blight?

Quickthorn
Don't bring haw into the house at night

or in any month with a red fruit in season

or when starlings bank against the light,

don't bring haw in. Don't give me reason

to think you have hidden haw about you.

Tucked in secret, may its thorn thwart you.

Plucked in blossom, powdered by your thumb,

I will smell it for the hum of haw is long,

its hold is low and lilting. If you bring

haw in, I will know you want me gone

to the fairies and their jilting. I will know

you want me buried in the deep green field   

where god knows what is rotting.

Giving the Talk
I know every stick and stone of this old road

every hollyhock and foxglove

where the flesh fly lays her eggs in devil spit;

which hedges harbour the blackthorn

and where to pick the best berries, high up

ae authorSiobhán Campbelland low down. Like us all, round here,

I know which corner the articulated lorry

jackknifed, taking a shortcut off the main road,

scattering the limbs of the two Brady children

on either side. No-one put flowers

or one of those little crosses. Slowing down

on that bend, as everyone here knows,

is treacherous.

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Over Hills and Plains, Riding a White Horse, Bow and Arrows in Hand

Saturday, early morning, the sun enters and radiates the light of Sagittarius. Three hours later, the Sagittarius new moon (0.07 degrees) occurs. “Let food be sought,” is the personality-building keynote. “Food” means experiences; all kinds, levels and types. It also means real food. Sag’s secret is their love of food. Many, if not musicians, are chefs. Some are both. The energies shift from Scorpio’s deep and transformative waters to the “hills and plains of Sagittarius.” Sag is the rider on a white horse, eyes focused on the mountain peaks of Capricorn (Initiation) ahead. Like Scorpio, Sagittarius is also the “disciple.” Adventure, luck, optimism, joy and the beginnings of gratitude are the hallmarks of Sagittarius. Sag is also one of the signs of silence. The battle lines were drawn in Libra and we were asked to choose where we stood. The Nine Tests were given in Scorpio and we emerged “warriors triumphant.” Now in Sag, we are to be the One-Pointed Disciple, riding over the plains on a white horse, bow and arrows in hand, eyes focused on the Path of Return ahead. Sagittarians are one-pointed (symbol of the arrow). Sag asks, “What is my life’s purpose?” This is their quest, from valleys, plains, meadows and hills, eyes aimed always at the mountaintop. Sag emerges from Scorpio’s deep waters, conflict and tests into the open air. Sag’s quest is humanity’s quest. Sag’s quest, however, is always accompanied by music and good food.

 

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