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I was born

by Peggy McCarthy -

near buckets - aluminium and red plastic,

brimming with well-water and hot cows’ milk,

near drooping fuchsia and bristling heather

grazing my legs when I scouted the hills,

near old photos in the parlour press, faded faces,

their clear American smiles spanning the ocean between us.

And later by factory gates when the hooter blew,

and chimneys spewed the smoky breath of a winter day,

between vinyl threads, the chords sparking,

singing through me their every turning note.

I was born when I mouthed an answer

before the question was formed.

I was born was first published in Southword 41 in 2021.


Peggy McCarthy is an Irish poet who completed her M.A. in Creative Writing at UCC in 2021. She won the Fish Poetry Prize 2020, was shortlisted for The Wells Poetry Prize 2020, and won third place in the Oliver Goldsmith Poetry Prize 2021. She has had work published in Hold Open the Door, A Commemorative Anthology from The Ireland Chair of Poetry 2020 and Southword 41. She was born near Skibbereen in West Cork and lives in Waterford city.


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