Poems By Amanda Bell (Ireland)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 47
I was unsure how I should feel when Mad Jack died,
leaving in his wake a trail of burnt out bins and shite.
Regret for a robust life-force, extinguished overnight?
Or relief that he’d no longer terrorize the kids,
bellowing curses as he cycled up the footpath, rampant
on the pedals of his bike, roaring like a bull,
and fouling the garage forecourt every night,
through anarchy or incontinence we never knew.
He died suddenly in the shrubbery at Mount Argus —
his sole memorial the blasted yew in my front garden,
incendiarized on his way past, one early morning.
Buttercups spread overground as well as under:
runners take long leaps, bite down for purchase, leap again;
white clustered roots form galaxies below.
Fork-loosened soil admits my fingers;
I work them underneath and gently tug, then throw:
over my shoulder a mountain quickly grows
of tangled green trajectories, tufted white nebulae.
The cleared soil is friable, beetle-riddled, rich.
There will again be beans, pebble-smooth potatoes,
stubborn beetroot, white-spined chard in rows.
The buttercups throw long green ropes,
dig-in winter camps.
In spring, their golden satellites
will signal to the sky, ‘We’re in’.
The moon draws tides across the shifting globe -
seeds burst, seas die:
I’m throwing weeds over my shoulder,
feeling them regroup just out of sight.
Amanda Bell is the editor of The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work: An Anthology of Poetry by the Hibernian Writers (Alba Publishing, 2015), and Maurice Craig: Photographs (Lilliput, 2011). In 2015 she won the William Allingham Poetry Competition and was highly commended for the Patrick Kavanagh Award, and in 2016 was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and the Munster Literature Festival Introductory Readings. She publishes poetry, Japanese-form poetry and critical writing in journals, anthologies and essay collections. She has a research interest in both ecocriticism and children's literature, and reviews regularly for Children’s Books Ireland’s publication Inis.
Image: "Shrubbery" by Marlya Chorna.