In a Time of Violence: Poems
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The publication of Eavan Boland's previous book, Outside History: Selected Poems 1980-1990, established Boland as a significant presence in the contemporary American poetry world.This, her seventh book, continues to mine what she has termed "the meeting place between womanhood and history."
nowhere— not from door to carriage—but a cloth sprinkled with bay rum & rose attar is pressed against my mouth. Our picnics by the river— remember that one with Major Harris?— our outings to the opera & our teas are over now for the time being. Shall I tell you what I saw on Friday, driving with Mama? A woman lying across the Kells Road with her baby— in full view. We had to go out of our way to get home & we were late & poor Mama was not herself all day. 4 IN A BAD LIGHT This is
by a small danger—how and why they have chilled into these April nights I lie awake listening for wings I will never see above the cold frames and last frosts of our back gardens. THE WATER CLOCK Thinking of ageing on a summer day of rain and more rain I took a book down from a shelf and stopped to read and found myself— how did it happen?— reflecting on the absurd creation of the water clock. Drops collected on the bell-tongues of fuchsia outside my window. Apple-trees
were high up in the Wicklow hills, in a circle of whins and lilacs. We were looking for the source of a river. We never found it. Instead, we drove to its northern edge. And there the river leaned into the afternoon— all light, all intrusion— the way a mirror interrupts a room. See me kneeling in a room whose boundary is fog and the dusk of a strange city. The mirror shows a child in bad light. From the inlaid box I lift up something closed in tissue paper. My mother’s hair. A whole
finished in a mutton-fat creaminess, a seamless flutter in marble revealed by a sudden brightness from the window behind me and other parts were as dark as the shell of a. swan mussel. I saw my mother weep once. It was under circumstances I can never, even now, weave into or reveal by these cadences. As I watched, and I was younger then, I could see that weeping itself has no cadence. It is unrhythmical, unpredictable and the intake of breath one sob needs to become another sob, so
pearls are tears?” I could not ask her, she could not tell me why something had once made her weep. Had made her cover up her mouth and eyes in the slow work of the moth fed on white mulberry leaves. Had made her say: from now on let daylight be black- and-white and menial in-betweens and let the distances be made of silk. My distances were made of grit and the light rain throws away in the hour between planets. And rush-hour traffic. My keys were ready. What she knew was gone and