Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Avenue of Blackberries’ and other poems

By: Clara McShane

Photo by Pixabay on

Avenue of Blackberries

Avenue of blackberries
encapsulated by the trees
specks of wildflower, butter gorse
football club cheering grows hoarse

old man passes, all my life
lens matures with time and strife
wilting fuchsia, ballet shoes
awry poppy, Summer’s bruise

benches who have watched me grow
silent seedling, clover glow
men with babies, pebble, rock
lost dog’s chew toy, white school sock

buttercups are time and past
tiny feet can’t walk too fast
steam train singing, misty morn
bramble, bramble, bramble, thorn.

Oftentimes I long to be
my avenue of blackberries
to cradle and to know each sole
that imprints on its lifelong stroll.


To Him

To him, I am a poem
before I am a poet.

Scripted and re-drafted
in the foggy light of a desk lamp,
ethereal in excruciating moonlight
and deified in moleskin archives.

Oil painting
mottled yet impressionist
night, but never black
preserved in streetlight
solipsised in hues of indigo and gold.

Sadness replaced with pathos
anger is a whirlpool passion
laughter becomes sonnet
and all belong to him.

My existence is his,
fodder for fantasy,
ornate in the glistening display case
of his mind.


Taste of Autumn Air

October air pervades the thatch
wattle and daub damp with autumn’s scent
children wait for Mammy
to deliver Hallowe’en at last

“A watched oven never bakes”
she shoos and swats the ravenous urchins
as they peek and poke around the glorious red brick stove
a one-eyed once-loved doll thrust aside
no match for this evening’s exhilaration

and finally it’s here
wafting and exuding its glorious cloud
of sweet fruit, yeast, hunger
freshly baked autumn air.

Plated and devoured in jittering anticipation
for who will find the coveted ring
fortelling of love,
imprisoned within its crumbling walls?

Siobhán is the bashful champion, again, this year,
fishing the metal from her grinning gob
eruptions of jeering,
“Is it Paddy O’Donavan up the road you’re wedding?”

The rain begins outside, then, wetting the hay from the stable
and inviting into the home its friendly smell.

A drop of milk for each head

and bed.

Through inky night
their tongues recall
leftover ale

they have never felt so lucky.


Navy Days

“Paddy next door’s lost his marbles!”

Mahogany door slams Mondays
tirades of stomping,
black bins to blame
I am parallel
offerings of tentative smiles
olive branches
Paddy spits.

Navy days I am his daughter
prodigal and preserved
child of glow, gorse, playground
watercolour to aphantasiac
to snow.

Other days
I am a bitch
Paddy organises his fingers accordingly.
I wonder who I am that day
what affront I have inflicted
in past life.

Navy days
we sit beneath silver oak
tales of his grandchild
spill from my lips
the vast glacier plains of our back garden
sunny wintery Novia Scotia
traversing stalactite streets
how wonderful that must be
for a fictitious child

places I’ve never been
a life I’ve never lived
nor has Paddy.

“Just humour him.”

Some Wednesdays
a rotten chicken carcass is flung into my garden
squashing my wallflowers
cavernous and vengeful
in a sad type of way.
Paddy cries on these days
agonised wails reverberate
through my wall
through his
soaking through tired wallpaper.

Navy days I confide
in Google
Winter in Canada images
baby name ideas
babies in Canada in Winter

cherubs and snow angels
supplement my nightmares
on navy nights.

“Poor Soul.”


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