Good Friday in September
‘Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breath free…
— Emma Lazaurs
I bend down, over succulent bushes, to pluck potential jam
blossoms sport a hint of flesh with ripeness just out of reach.
Light loosens green fisted berries blacking tight red knots:
Fruit that a fork will squash sun from, sugar brings the taste of black out,
— purple on the back of hands, juice dries in memory of blood
or stitches taut, fresh from the fall out of New Amsterdam.
East of Wall Street you leg-it in to South Street Sea Port
an extra in this home movie made, in Afghanistan;
by a tent a Ronson lighter lights a Camel up … exhales…
And in slow motion you assume the distance of a dream
with the sound down, stockbrokers and concrete fall
burnt steal flares nostrils with the scent of attack
in God we trust, with a pyramid on a green back
sporting vision as a myopic eye- iris, pupil, look.
You go down to the river and into the river you go
out the mouth of the Hudson tug-boats ferry you, past
Liberty and Ellis, back over waves our people took,
currents connect the ins and outs of Hades
white horses carry you as sea spray, across oceans
on to main lands to give life to cacti blossoms
up on this up turned earth, turned over? Over clay
I sit a washed out jam jar full of hope and poppies.
Black berries linger a round the rim of this globe.
Eucalyptus drowns air, silver odor of bark,
scythe leaves cut spearmint cobbles for nostrils,
in, out, to the very shape of breath itself
Nutmeg opened trade routes as the British spread ground troops
all over the John Joe’s atlas, before Lourdes or the London Blitz.
His finger follows rivers, bridges and towns not mapped by
the pineapple-crown, where wars will begin, songs will be sung:
from the bless it Magna Carter to the charm’in Trevelyan
from John’s New Bible to New Found Land,
from Alice Springs to where they pick Darjeeling Tea
Cucumber triangles, Afternoon Tea at the Carlton-Ritz
scones and clotted cream: The White Cliffs of Dover,
going over and over, and Vera Lynn on the Isle of Capri,
Earl Grey sipped from China cups made in England.
Hadrian’s Wall the Roman gift of boundary
and the Walls of Limerick danced in parish halls, all over
Eire, like coming out of a cold era or the lost city of Pompeii,
with a confidence of a garrison town or the red hand of Ulster
or Michael’s hand as he signes Collins under The Treaty
And like London Bridge Big Mick falls down
yer man who shot him will slept in John-Joe’s barn.
In New South Wales echoes of it’s a Long Way To Tipperary
sound under foot, across oceans, on the beaches, and in Dunkirk.
it could be 1066 or the days of Billy of Orange every July
look at the invisible lines the empire draws
six orange segments, blood red marbled green
Dawn plays on marigolds and hedgerow,
after, dew disappears to jump start day.
We drive up a boreen to catch plover off guard
and hear Matt the thresher from over the yard
whistle Jingle Bells in mid-July; thinking of how
his mother would run her index along his larynx,
he rings day-light out of young Martha Ryan.
At the back of an un-marked spot, a twig snaps.
At an abandoned railway line, sleepers rust,
forgotten, as the child of a one night stand.
Anne Fitzgerald lives in Dunlaoire, Co. Dublin. She holds a B.Sc. in Management & Law from Trinity College Dublin and is currently undertaking an M.A. in Creative Writing at Queens University, Belfast. Her début poetry collection, Swimming Lessons, was published by a Welsh publishing house, Stonebridge Publications, and was launched by Medbh McGuckian, in Newman House on October 12th 2001, and sold out. The 2nd edition is currently being printed.