Clare McCotter, After Poetry

After Poetry

Poetry is dying. That is why I had to make the film.
The two become one through the poem. (Lee Chang-dong)

You tell the doctor nouns are more important
she replies: in dementia first to go,
person, place, thing
hiding out where tall wild iris
fasten their blue kimonos in a garden of stars.

She talks to you of tides nothing can turn
not even the bleached bones of a winter moon
as shyly you unfold your sole ambition –
just one poem
one silently waiting in a heart of pure amethyst.

Darkening as you study each cicada cry,
the apple’s waxed shadow shining your hand
and on pine a patch of moth-shaped light
calling like a last letter
in warm neighbourhood sodium night.

In the gold of the morning your moment comes
on ground summered with fallen apricots
and speckled grasses –
the path a girl walked each day to high orchards
tracing the lost liniments of her father’s face.

After poetry your search not suicide
following footprints to the water
beginning to dream before the wide black water
opens its arms to your embrace, and finding her
there among crimson chrysanthemums

light a candle in the grave.

Clare McCotter has had haiku, tanka, and haibun published in many parts of the world. She won The British Haiku Award 2017, The British Tanka Award 2013 and The HIS Dóchas Ireland Haiku Award 2011 and 2010. Her work has been included in the prestigious Norton anthology – Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years. Her longer poems have appeared in over thirty journals, including Abridged, Crannóg, Cyphers, Envoi, The Honest Ulsterman, Iota, The Interpreter’s House and The Stinging Fly.

Awarded a Ph.D from the University of Ulster, Clare has also published numerous peer-reviewed articles on Belfast born Beatrice Grimshaw’s travel writing and fiction. Clare was one of three writers featured in Measuring New Writers 1 (Dedalus Press). Black Horse Running, her first collection of haiku, tanka and haibun, was published in 2012 (Alba Publishing). Revenant, her first collection of longer poems, was published in 2019 by Salmon Poetry. She has worked as a lecturer, a teacher of English, a psychiatric nurse and a full-time carer. Home is Kilrea, County Derry.

Read more of Clare here.

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