How We Cope. A poem by Mari Maxwell

In spring the white hawthorn incinerates our village
new lambs yodel in tremulous bursts
lost mothers, found mothers
knuckle deep in the fields
their tongues curl
as they learn to rip sweet grass
Weaning, when it comes, will echo through our stone walls
Sharps and flats discordant harmonies
as they shriek for a swollen teat

Lough Mask glugs, pops bubbles through limestone flutes
At the water’s edge mayflies drip endless circles until sated, spent
Winter floods recede expose lanky wild mint that melds
with the golden gorse
and deep in the sodden ruts marsh marigold, purple orchid and bog
cotton embrace

Across the Atlantic
you snowshoe up Mount Washington in December
Peevishly wait to kayak Boston’s Charles’ River this summer
We are all of us dandelion clocks suspended in lockdown
Memories in and out on the tide
Lullabies in the time of Covid


Mari’s work has featured in Her Other Language, with Northern Irish Writers on Domestic Violence and Abuse 2020, Coercive Control exhibition with Wexford Women’s Refuge, Nov. 2019, Healing Words Exhibition in London, Oct. 2019 and University College Dublin’s Poetry Wall in 2018 & ’19. Her work features online and in print in Ireland, USA, India, Brazil and Australia. She is a 2019-2020 Words Ireland mentee.

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