Nothing in domestic or international law forbids border checks between the U.K. and Ireland. Nothing in the Good Friday Agreement prohibits economic checks taking place between the two sovereign states that jut up against each other on the island of Ireland. The question of erecting physical infrastructure along their border is NOT a legal one, but a political one rooted in history, identity, and violence. Indeed, the Good Friday Agreement reaffirmed Northern Ireland’s legitimate constitutional place within the U.K. and, by extension, the border that exists on the island of Ireland between North and South.

repetition celebrates a cut the song has made. likeness severed from the binding self. in a short drawn breath, we are mourning both the intake and expulsion.

I at least, for my part, indeed, for myself.

the foricalmarks the point in the ploughed land where the furrows cross. the surrogate birds collect here and hesitate.

the quick of the present, softened into the conditional, which props up those who the song has emptied. it looks accidental. maybe the listing is accidental.

[…] attacks upon urban oligarchies in the early seventeenth century were common in Kent, particularly in Faversham in the decade after 1610, and Joan Cariden’s verbal assault on Mayor Greenstreet and his jurats may well have been in that tradition. Clearly dissatisfied with the administration of justice, the troublesome woman threatened to petition the lord warden of the Cinque Ports and instructed her son to ‘goe and arest goodman Chillenden’, and her son also said that ‘he could not have noe justice of Mr Maior’. By mid-September 1635 Faversham had a new mayor, but ten years later Robert Greenstreet once again took up office, and within twelve days, intriguingly, Cariden had been thrown into gaol. Soon afterwards she was tried and executed as a witch. […]

Joan Cason, the witch hanged at Faversham in 1586, confessed not only that John Mason ‘had the use hir bodie verie dishonestlie whilest she was wife to hir husband’, but crucially that she had failed to make the bequests stipulated by her lover in his will. Guilt over this omission caused Cason herself to believe that the deceased Mason had sent the rat which paid frequent visits to her house, in order ‘that she shoolde see hys wyll fulfylled & … she dothe thincke that yt as Masons soule’.

Jonathan Barry, Marianne Hester and Gareth Roberts, Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe, pp. 268 and 280

ruddock | the winder | otherwhile | and now | we
longtails | the linger | maudring | in the forical
anyone | when spree | chitter | o | thrible
anyone | but | upon | the | rush | mouth | which | bly
still | for | lirry | the flinder | lip | and | hussle
whitter | but | into | thicket of reeds | still | the song skipjack | bring | the song
| whipsticks | melting | if | and now | that stilt

Galatea exemplifies the disembodied glimpse—the stealing glance— a gestural point in the transaction of male desire. as performance of volatile elusiveness, she is constantly already evaporated. a grieving in the weed and the wood.

labial reflection of the lily. guttural reflection of the lily. beautiful tumour of the dirge. the mouth is afraid of inexact retrieval. Galatea’s round eyes grow mildewed in the foam of the poem.

But concerning these images, it is certeine that they are much feared among the people, and much used among cousening witches, as partlie appeereth in this discourse of mine else-where, & as partlie you may see by the contents of this storie following. Not long sithence, a yoong maiden (dwelling at new Romnie heere in Kent) being the daughter of one M. L. Sttippenie (late Jurat of the same towne but dead before the execution hereof) and afterwards the wife of Thomas Eps, who is at this instant Maior oi Romjiie) was visited with sicknesse, whose mother and father in lawe being abused with credulitie concerning witches supernaturall power, repaired to a famous witch called mother Baker, dwelling not far from thence at a place called Stonstreet, who (according to witches cousening custome) asked whether they mistrusted not some bad neighbour, to whom they answered that indeed they doubted a woman neere unto them (and yet the same woman was, of the honester & wiser sort of hir…

Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft (London: Elliot Stock, 1584 (reprinted 1886)).

the | mouth | itch | so as not to | bring
longtails | the linger | maudring | in the ood
cluther | now | lilies | the | limb | someoneday | lurry
sit | after | the oare | the saltings
nohow | for | equal | one-eyed | cut song | truly | flee
her | ood | lilies | but | stolt | see | the saltings

little clicks the poem makes. anything can be swollen like this, outside of its quantity, into the sum of the sand. the shepherd puts aside the ox, in favour of the gift which is to die alongside, though only in the dirge, where he sits himself desolate. in the stubble that remains after the cut.

in the word dois the allusion of possession not present in the dirge itself. the poet bestows upon the dead a sense of ownership; that they may keep their own death like a small and tidy house. any action contained in the word is a form of work.

every way, on every side, all, let me tell you.

this dying is a solid thing. though we could not know it.

Mildred Wright is hanged for being a witch on July 30 1652.
Anne Wilson is hanged for being a witch on July 30 1652.
Mary Read is hanged for being a witch on July 30 1652.
Anne Martyn is hanged for being a witch on July 30 1652.
Anne Ashby is hanged for being a witch on July 30 1652.
[…]
Anne Ashby allegedly ‘swell’d into a monstrous and vast bigness’ (like false pregnancy) in court, claiming she was possessed by her spirit Rug. This was witnessed by E. G. Gent.
[…] Mary Browne, Anne Wilson, or Mildred Wright (the author is uncertain) is tested with a pin; she neither felt the prick nor did she bleed.
[…] Mary Read of Lenham allegedly has a witch’s mark under her tongue which she shows to many, including E. G. Gent.

E. G. Gent., A Prodigious & Tragic History of the Arraignment, Trial, Confession, and Condemnation of Six Witches at Maidston Kent, (London, 1652) p. 6.

now | even now | grasp | the swell | in | salts
sit | bligh | bud | but | yet still | fatting
longtails | the linger | maudring | in the ersh
as if all went | to rights | o | doers | to die with | gifts
we | jawsy | kiss | lip, a lip | fret
and now | sartin | o’er | the body | welter | shut | love

Eleanor Perry

She tells her love while half asleep,
In the dark hours,
With half-words whispered low:
As Earth turns in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.

Robert Graves

naked

October 8, 2019

you’ve seen me naked
your hazel eyes have gazed upon every inch of me
you watched me strip bare
down to nothingness
you have seen the worst and best parts of me
without even talking off my clothes

Ema

greatest lie

October 8, 2019

The greatest lie ever told about love is that it sets you free.

Zadie Smith
On Beauty

an automatic process

October 8, 2019

A rhythm in each sentence, music almost, each syllable slotting neatly into place. It’s an automatic process. When I read out loud, I do not read but sing in my head. It’s natural, I associate any and every sentence to a tempo.

fire storm

October 8, 2019

I’m the fever lighting your passion, a blazing fire in our night – and the fire storm that finally capsizes your body…

not reading enough

October 8, 2019

I’ve been joking with the others in my workshop that I’m on the Reading Recovery programme this year. Ha ha. But when I had my first meeting with Damien, and tried presenting this as an amusing quirk — ‘Oh! and did I mention? I don’t read, really’ — he did look a bit alarmed. Writers are all so different, he said, but the one thing all writers must also be is readers. And I said, ‘Well, yes, OK, I’m not saying this is a good thing.’

I remember once, a few years ago, I asked my friend Amelia what she was planning to do that evening. She said, ‘I think I’ll go home and read my book’. ‘My book’. That phrase — the ‘my’ and then the ‘book’ — made me feel a pang of resentment. I don’t have a book. Even when I’m reading something, I don’t think of it as ‘my’ book, but rather, as ‘a’ book.

So I have been thinking about my relationship with books and clearly it is not an easy one. I feel guilty for not reading enough, and jealous of people who do read. I admit that yesterday when I saw a woman on the 23 bus with José Saramago’s Blindness cradled on her lap, I actually hated her.

Emma Kate Martin
Excerpts from a Reading Journal, 2009

we practice romance

October 8, 2019

I met my future husband at 19, and I wrote this poem in a notebook for him. By then it had already been echoing around inside me for years, telling me the truth about love. (Love is monomaniacal, love is appalling, love is secret, love is childish, love rips you from the bosom of your family, love is woozy, love is ravishing, love is scrumdiddlyumptious.)

I should probably feel embarrassed…but am unabashed. There are many fine poems about the grown-up parts of love, but it’s as infatuated teenagers that we learn romance, and as infatuated teenagers that we practice romance, all the rest of our lives. I don’t suppose a marriage could amount to much if it didn’t have a pair of infatuated teenagers hidden in it.

Ailbhe Darcy
The Irish Times 14th February 2018