Irene Cunningham: Two poems


Spring is on hold
while the rain catches up. I keep
thinking of running the rake
through the clumped grass; I want
to comb it out, untangle last season’s
dead, make way for machinery. I have
visions of me in a floppy hat
under the sun.

Looking down, this garden
fits into the space between
my fingers and thumbs but when I’m there
it feels like a windswept moor
and I’m Cathy calling for her Heathcliffe…
but I’d only want to use his
muscle – make him work for me.

I have to live with autumn
permanently, until winter
freezes my old bones. Spring
is just a chore, and now I must
fish my son off the river,
get him behind a mower
before the grass turns hippy.


Three women crossed the land
bewitched fae Glasgow tae Fife –
there was no dancing naked
in mystic moonlight
or May-day orgies.

The Green Witch of Aberdour
grimoired spells by an open fire.
Web pages seducing
crystal visions
had stimulated our intentions.
This emporium bizarre
sold us an eastern town.
Were we wise
to drive so far to shop?

Caught, dusted by fairies
who tinkled shafts of light
right inside
muddled minds.
Lost in the caves of time
epiphany glowed like mother-of-pearl
it mooned alongside my new tarot
swelled impossible cups
to catch tears, flatten guilt.

At Burntisland we hung
on the edge of rocks
lay against the wind
and the sun beat with purpose
upon my face.
It wrapped wisdom around confusion –
all our roads were crossed.

We picked over the headland
seeking that film of the past
to break stone memories –
they clung like molten tar.
The wind scuttled and scoured
every crevice that rattled lies.

Lynda, Trina and me
we three healing women
have borne rebirth on the Firth of Forth.
A journey, a shop and a paddle in the sea –
that’s all it takes to be free.

Copyright © Irene Cunningham

Irene Cunningham has had many poems published in poetry magazines, such as: London Review of Books (writing as Maggie York), Stand Magazine, Writing Women, Iron, Hybrid, Poetry Scotland, Northwords Now, Envoi, New Writing Scotland, and many more. Glasgow born, she now lives beside Loch Lomond with memories of her travels.

Writing blog

Personal blog


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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