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Poem of the week

Below is a selection of Siobhán's appearances as Poem of the week

Poem of the week, Oxford Brookes University, 7th November, 2017

About cows (Heat Signature, Seren Press, 2017)

They shit a lot and at first it is a warm pat 
ridged with raised circles as it dries. 
Water stopped in its tracks or a viscous jelly 
hardening from the outside in. 
I think of dying in a pool of shite, 
the one my mother meant – 
Go take a running leap in the slurry pit for all I care. 
We had lost three cats that summer. 
Seeing them stiffed, legs rigid and shining 
made an art of death. 
But this was to be about cows, 
their lumbering walk to the gap to be milked 
as if they know more together than apart. 
They can smell a stream of fresh water from a mile. 
They can hear grass growing under the bull. 
They hold time in their four stomachs, chewing it down 
till the evening milking, feeling the hours move on through. 
They do not miss the calves they have had taken. 
No attachment is apparent in three days. 
Perhaps like the farmer in a unit of money, 
they count on exchange. 
Cows know their own patch but they’ll stray to graze another’s. 
Swung towards the hedge in rain, heads dripping, 
tail swatch taking a rest from flies. 
Apparently rural but worldly wise, cows know that loss 
is our only measure, expellation a passing pleasure.


Friday poem, Seren Press, October 13th, 2017

Drumlins have no personality (Heat Signature, Seren Press, 2017)
they bland the land,
make one space much like another.
The road imposed by tar
could ribbon off at any moment –
pop open a corpuscle, a sup-hole of slippage.

In the dips between shale hills
is water or its suggestion.
The glands of a fish were found here
petrified in a granite slate.

If you could find where it ends,
this is egg-in-a-basket topography,
undulations for a giant game of hide and seek,
threnody for straw boys
and those who chase the wren.

In the few straggling bushes,
polished pockets of stasis.
What would it be to sink here
if these hills reversed,
plug holes to a swipe of earth?

They cannot be farmed. They will not be domestic.

They ask for nothing
but leave us a little frantic,
a touch of babble at the edges of our springs.

Carol Rumens's Poem of the week, The Guardian, 18th September, 2017

Origin of the Mimeo (Heat Signature, Seren Press, 2017)

What do guns when they are not in use?
In the dead of night they double and divide,
naming new owners, finding a new ruse.

Carry a gun on stage, it must be fired.
Deterrent only lasts until undone.
Better they are counted out of mind.

List the ways to frame a decommission,
a car-park graveyard covered with cement.
Which stay on stasis is sufficient?

Marking each as put beyond use.
Keeping their provenance as you would art.
Rocking the replicas back to their false start.
It’s got to be efficient.

Poem of the week, Inpress Books, 11th August, 2017

Flora (Heat Signature, Seren Press, 2017)

The cow is on top of her game, 
her haunches fat, her bones rounded.
She feels the goddess power of her udder
in the mould-damp dark of the milking shed.

If she stays still, all may be well.
If she thinks of the cool absence of horns,
feels their undead weight balancing her head,
she may contain herself.

But if she kicks the bucket at full froth,
tips it from the milker’s raw-red hand-
then she begins a hell which gathers heat
all through the livelong days without that milk.

Poem of the week, RTÉ Radio 1, January, 2017



Long after pollution was confirmed, you insisted 
on picking periwinkles by the Bull Wall. 
We swapped them in the kitchen for fresh ones 
from Thomas’s fish stall in Mary Street. 
And when you went out door-to-door for Fianna Fáil, 
they thought your northern accent helped to swell 
the brand of softer nation they were selling. 
Dev had been betrayed and those treaty chaps 
were led astray, forgetting the sacrifice of the sixteen. 
The inheritance was clear, a straight line right back 
from there to here and a daughter who believed 
not one word of it, until you took her up – 
gave her the tether tour, backing around 
Stranmillis to Malone. That’s where Muldoon slipped 
out a window of a night to meet his squeeze. 
And there’s the bay those giant roses set alight.
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