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By Emma Jo Black -

why do you look at me like that

with your tall silence with your one red eye

the wind bowing in frustration to your stare to make a walkway of itself on which to sneer at the tide

watch a seagull pick the feathered flesh fresh from its kin twin mouths devouring a beak rotated back

how do you follow me to shore with your metal song

your blood shape in my sky

“fresh tears coming out of my eyes this morning”

laughs the old man on the pier his grin cut deep by the dark blade of the water

how dare you recognise my face looking down from above with your rust-covered gaze

I’m not lonely like you

in fact, I’m leaving

try chasing me down in this parched autumn mist I won’t turn back

as you split through the horizon I won’t cry not for the weight of the sky on your stooped silhouette

I’ve no tears for a lighthouse

lest the barnacles stuck to my skin

fossilise in their salt lest the barnacles stuck to my skin

bring us close, you and I


Emma Jo Black is a Paris-born poet and visual artist of Irish, French and American nationalities. They bridge seas through poetry and cultural anthropology, investigating migration paths and experiences of liminality. Jo hosts events at Spoken Word Paris and was recently published in The Galway Advertiser’s Vox Galvia and Lothlorien Poetry Journal vol. 6.

They have worked with indigenous leaders in Colombia, left stray feathers in Berlin and stalked the streets of Dublin as a vampire. Their stage performances combine poetry, physical theatre and drag in order to celebrate the queer and the unknowable in each of us.

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

by Catherine Ronan -

Now we are free to kiss

Ancient mouths in our time

Sweet apples from a golden tree

Wake alive healed

Trembling steel trays

Land of concrete promise

Underneath a calico blanket

Everything revealed

Three birds sing Blarney

We hear them in lusty stone

For all the world is red

In white matted hair

You rise from the waves

Kiss O’Sullivan cheeks

Wet feet in West Cork

Fairy of the hills

Never too weak to speak

We hear you on the tides

Whispering through the trees

Clíodhna – Queen of the Banshee


Catherine Ronan is a UCC graduate and has been writing poetry since childhood. She was a finalist in the Jester of the Kingdom competition 2019 and performed at The Winter Warmer Poetry Festival in 2019 and 2021. She has been published in Cork Words Anthology 2, Blue Mondays Anthology, Woman Scream Anthology, Wexford Women Writing Undercover Journal, The Opinion, Inside My 5Km Anthology, and the Ó Bhéal Five Words anthologies.

Catherine won the Winter Solstice Poetry Competition in 2021 and her work was chosen as part of Poetry in the Park Project, Virtual Patrick’s Day Parade 2021, as part of the Launch and Closing of Bandon Poetry Town. She helped curate this Poetry Ireland initiative in 2021. Catherine organised a Poetry Trail for Bandon Poetry town and ran a poetry workshop with children in association with three other poets called ‘Rhymes by the River’ in association with Bandon Creative. She was a featured poet on Lime Square Poets 2021. She has also branched into Poetry Film ( Policing Mary and Where’s Your Christmas Jumper). She performs on open mics to international audiences, is a member of multiple poetry collectives, and is on the DeBarra’s Spoken Word Team. She writes articles for local newspapers regarding upcoming poetry events and festivals. Catherine lives with her husband, three children, two cats and a goldfish in West Cork!

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

by Liam Boyle -

Now that the county is our oyster

and the weather app promises a window

before evening rain

we decide on an afternoon walk,

boardwalk over bog, a slight incline,

after lunch in The Purple Door, Leenane.

We start on a gravel path, a marked trail.

Now and then younger walkers,

lithe and light-footed, glide past.

This is the place to be,

crossing patches of bog on planks,

sniffing yellow furze in bloom,

stepping on lichen stained stones.

The slope gets steeper till,

faced with a wall of stone, I baulk,

I pause a moment, then press on,

rough slabs form steps slapped before me.

This is tougher than I thought.

A drizzle drenches me,

a welcome coolant on my face,

but the steps are slippier.

I climb with care, frequent breaks

to quell the lactate in my legs.

With each break I gaze at the changing scenery -

the higher I am the farther I see

back beyond Letterfrack.

At the summit I am Zeus

surveying the world of humans

as wind buffets my face and tosses my beard.

Through drizzle I see

hikers like ants on the trail below,

farms and bogland stitched together,

a car beetling along road

between tiny villages,

a silver thread of river

flecked white with distant waterfalls,

Kylemore Abbey a child’s toy

tucked at the edge of a pool.

In front, hills, harbour, sea, islands.

Behind, Twelve Pins like titans’ teeth

threatening to chomp.

And here, sparkling quartz and white marble

remind me of the age of mountains,

the age of rock and earth,

and how this height once was

the bottom of the sea.


Liam Boyle was born in Drogheda and moved to Galway in the 1970s. He wrote poetry in his teens and twenties but then stopped. He started again recently and has rediscovered its joys and challenges. He has been published in the Galway Advertiser's Vox Galvia page and has been a featured reader on Galway’s Over the Edge readings.

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