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Jean O’Brien: All Souls – November –  Samhain

All Souls – November – Samhain

The veil that separates us from our ancestors
thins this night and all our dead come traipsing softly in,

through tangled nets of mist whisper-thin. Lured
with vessels of salt and water and bright burning candles

this tableau hauls up my spectres and deliriums.
All my griefs and losses exposed in soft light.

If I glance slant I half see them, they do not welcome
the full-on stare, appear slowly like lingering echoes;

foremothers, forefathers, parents, sister, a beloved aunt
all here waiting for me through the tear in the membrane,

ticking off their lists and walking backward in the snowy scrim
so footprints won’t show what way and how they come in.

I try to speak, to gather them in my arms and hold
their bones close, but they are ash to touch, and scatter

like starlings whirling in the firmament, my dervish dead.
They pass through my skin like clear water, singing sotto voce

soon, soon. For now my love a strong spar hauls them up.
As dawn approaches night closes over,
the heavens shower us with stars cold light.

Jean O’Brien. O’Brien’s fifth and latest collection her New & Selected Fish on a Bicycle was published by Salmon Poetry Irl. A prize winning poet she has won or been placed in many competitions, including the Arvon International (Winner) The Fish International (Winner) The Forward Prize (HC) and others. She holds an M.Phil in creative writing/poetry from Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland) and tutors in creative writing in places as diverse as prisons, schools, community centres and at masters degree level.





Read in Serbian HERE.

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