Mary Noonan


Saint Brigid’s Day has come and gone
and I am unbound from my tomb, adrift
in chambered earth, listening for sounds –
dull drubbing of dryads in leaves,
twitching of bone-dry twigs, dripping
of ice-water from rock.


But nothing moves in the earth above
my head. I feel the dull weight of trees,
mute prisoners on a hill, hacked back
for new growth. The sad machinery of Spring
has not yet begun its slow picking open
of cauterised hide, letting pistils weep again
feel the palsy of frost-scarred stem.


From my grave I look upon the crucified forms –
rags of sycamore against a mouse-grey sky,
stumpy limbs of butchered lime, claws of ash
frozen in their grasping at air. All is waiting,
feeding on the food of the dead. What hope
for us, rooted in Hades, unfurling,
forever opening our palms


to Demeter’s elusive touch, reaching to the mother
who cannot save us now, did not save us then,
when we set out across the field of flowers?

Mary Noonan
“Persephone” first appeared in The SHOp 29, Spring 2009.