Velocipede from St Stephen’s Green
She closes the batten door, hitches
skirt high to handle, fingers wrap steel
pale in their innocence but keen
hip swings to saddle, a crush of cotton
startles her resolve momentarily
as she feels the quickening air
wheels clip the tidy edges of green,
laughter escapes with her, she flees
skims like a low flying bird away
from ticking clocks, chicken broth
the way he likes it, needles in linen
long moments staring at blood pricked
from undesired skin, loneliness folded
between white kerchiefs, blue anemones
sewn into their corners
away on liberty’s emissary, black and sliver
the bells of Christchurch peal beneath
a white cloud sky, small assaults of wind
a lover’s hand on her spine, courage
gathers, she hurtles down the hill
in bone-shaking delight, green eyes
reflecting the Liffey’s spirit, skinny boys
diving, bells still singing, her laugh
the prestissimo of the river’s aria
I was led into captivity
by a man in dark boots
his white coat a reprimand
his hacking cough a dirge.
He took me from my half life
He smelled the fear
his daughter says.
She tastes it on her plate.
his foot urging me on
to join death’s queue.
The metal hooks glint
reflecting the leaden arms
of men at slaughter.
My sentience a thing
as yesterday’s breath.
Your Time Has Come
The good news is: there are other windows.
Spin on the soft brawn of your heel, blink
away the vigilant gauze from the blue.
See unbroken sky, cloud scattered,
pigeon working wings against the wind,
her failure. See falling as a kind of grace.
A day will come when you’ll discern
your mother’s scars, return your father’s voices
to the choke in his throat. But now you must unfurl,
trust the world with your brightness and bruise.
Box your ballet shoes with the knife, gather
for the unknown the following reserves:
The woman who said you sing like Billie Holiday,
the baker who feeds you almond tart on Fridays,
the aunt who hugs you past the armour,
Jane Eyre because no net ensnares you.
Women in the wings, who weave protective spells
to christen your turbulent crown.
That blood you pass is a kind of war paint,
now all you need do is find your tribe.
Glancing out the white window
his attention was caught
a lone lapwing flaunting her beauty
on the wide open river
her outstretched wings
reaching for deliverance
I was made of glass
with duller feathers, a veil around
the humming contours of my heart
my deeper inners taking up the chorus
I silently ask myself
how can his smile be the lark’s song
I fold and refold my napkin
as words fall from his mouth
like the first cherry blossoms
to leave the tree
I almost put out my tongue
to catch those tiny pink hosts
but, remember myself, turn
my eyes to the river
she is no longer alone
her mate has found her side
she pulls down her feathers
folds the exotic ones close to her skin
arranges the kind brown coverts
carefully on top
Bobbie Sparrow is a poetry-writing psychotherapist. Her poems have been published in various journals, including Orbis, Crannóg, Skylight 47 and The Honest Ulsterman. Bobbie was a featured reader at Over The Edge in August 2017 and at the Cúirt literary festival’s Far From event in 2018. Bobbie placed 3rd in The Blue Nib‘s 2018 chapbook competition.
Read more of Bobbie here.