Miki Byrne – two poems

View From the Lake House

Rain falls in dismal curtains.
Defies slicker and sou’wester

but tumbles like nails
hammered into the world.
Puddles reflect fractured grey shades,
rippled, metallic,
like the drip-wriggled window
that overlooks the lake.
Where swans make snowy arcs
of neck and wing,
huddle into wind-rattled reeds,
that bend under the torrent’s force.
He sits by the window,
gazes at smeared green expanses,
droplets bouncing high and harsh,
the slanting slash from sky to water.
Rain drums its incessant beat.
Echoes the thump of head and pulse,
the hollow ring of loneliness.
He closes the blind,
cuts off the grey wet of it all,
opens a bottle of cognac.
Proceeds to drown himself.


Crossing the Water

The name he left behind
held the green flow of the Liffey.
Tight Gaelic syllables
with Guinness-breathed gab,
O’Connell street shops,
the sting and salt tang
of the harbour.
It lilted with a harps’ plucked melody,
the rush of Dublin streets,
weed-bearded jetties and the chill
of cold stone on bare feet ,
as he shivered dockside,
dived for pennies
to raise smiles on tourists.
The name he carried travelled
across the water, was shaped
like whittled wood to fit a new life.
Anglicised, it smoothed edges,
eased the friction of sliding into a uniform,
joining the lemming-rush fight
for his new country.
It guided him towards post-war jobs,
marriage, fatherhood.
The name he gifted to his wife,
passed to three children who dispersed,
grew his line, entrenched it deep
as a transplanted tree,
diffused him into further
blood-tied generations.
This name was kept, even through marriage,
by the daughter who would not abandon it,
spelled it a thousand times
to unfamiliar ears.
That name lives on, strong, rooted,
enduring.


Miki has had three collections of poetry published and work included in over 170 respected poetry magazines/anthologies. She has won a few poetry competitions, been placed in others and read on both Radio and TV. She was a finalist for Gloucester Poet Laureate. Miki also runs a poetry group at The Roses Theatre Tewkesbury, and is active on the spoken word scene in Gloucestershire. She contributes to Poems in the Waiting Room and began reading her work in a Bikers club in Birmingham. Miki is disabled and now lives near Tewkesbury, Glos.

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