It’s National Poetry Day today!

Paper Dolls

Scissored, yet not severed,

Hand in hand, paper dolls unfold
In concertina form:
Heads & hands all level,
Shadow hearts beating between;
Feet all dancing the same straight floor,
If not to the same time,
If not to the same dance.

Hands stretch in telespace.
I speak to you, & you, by text & telephone & Skype:
Daughter to mother,
Mother to grandmother
In the miracle of melting miles,
No daughter without a mother.
Holding hands to heaven, we tread

The endless Eden dance.

© Lizzie Ballagher

Paper Dolls

Advertisements

Five Days of Dancing

When Sue Sims of Poetry Space challenged me to write five poems in five days, I decided they should be about dancing…And here is the first:

No Dancing Shoes

Strong arms lift & hold me so my toes just touch
My mother’s knee.
I feel the rough stuff
Of her tweed skirt & giggle, wriggle, feet
Suddenly dancing.
My father whistles, capering, clapping beside us.
My little face breaks into smiles.
My mother laughs.

© Lizzie Ballagher

Memories

Motherhood: perhaps not a commonly used word now, but beloved, nevertheless. Because most of my work is about inner and outer landscapes, poems which my children might read when they grew up have rarely come to mind. “The Cry of Birds” (below) is, however, one such. Recently chosen for Poetry Space’s 2015 spring showcase, this poem was in fact written for my daughter over thirty years ago.

The Cry of Birds

I pause for a moment
Weary and still
In the first spring rain
That falls uncertainly on my hair.
The splash and spit and drip
Are all I hear
On this country grey March morning
That hangs thin mist in my eyes.

The child in my arms wakes
From uterine dreams; her eyes
Wondering and still seek mine to explain
The sweet, the shrill, the shriek:
The cry of birds in the rain.
Hush! Never before has my summer-born child
Heard birds sing
In spring rain.

© Lizzie Ballagher

IMG_1110