TRACY PATRICK is a writer and performer who lives in Paisley. She is currently writer in residence at the Sunshine Recovery Café. Her latest poetry collection is Wild Eye Fire Eye. See www.tracypatrick.co.uk
EILEEN FARRELLY‘s poems have been published in From Glasgow to Saturn, Poetry Scotland’s Open Mouse, and included in two anthologies. As well as writing poetry she is also a songwriter and performing musician.
I am all fish,
slippery-bodied and large-mouthed,
the emblem of shanties and deep-water dreams.
Learnéd men sing of my fame,
of their sticky-fingered desire to snare me
but I break like oil
to leave only a blot, the surrender
of a gross prayer on their tongues.
No Kraken I,
lurking in their thunderous depths,
or staring stuffed and pike-eyed
behind office glass.
I make no truce with angels.
The closest I came to love
was that woman, her tremendous rainbow hands
that hooked me, rusted and grunting in my scales,
held me to the light,
peered into the well of my age,
the swell of my jaw, the hazel of my eye;
saw how I leaked, eroded by centuries,
my head buried in stale chrism.
I would have given her my word there and then
but she returned me to my element:
to that constant anadromy,
upriver and down sea;
put me back for some other pilgrim to examine.
Remember, you will only ever catch me by chance.
I do not RSVP.
I surface, late in the day, unexpected,
weighty and immense.
Not horse but the essence of horse.
Dimensions exactly right:
curved somnolent nose,
eyes slatted in silent meditation,
each line distilled as a dream.
It arrives from a distance,
a face you remember as if it were your own,
ridge-like, sculpted by sleeping sand,
blind fingers tracing the contours
of your own subtle mirage
and you discover not horse, but the idea of horse –
a retina-imprint of hooves
that parts the curtained fibres of your brain,
great apostles of horses,
sinuous and priestly,
galloping between the poles.
They rouse a distant craving in your blood,
as though you could break through
the simple fact of longitude
and arrive at that sacred symbol
that dissolves unseen in a fire of manes.
It’s not clear who dreamed who into being.
The Potato Eaters
Vincent, ever aware of the need for economy,
packs them all into these four walls:
Martha and Mary, the meal at Emmaus and
a meagre Last Supper
Where the man of the house
holds out the heavenly host,
to his wife, busy blessing the wine
just as Judas chooses the wrong moment
to reach into a dish of potatoes.
And above them all the Holy Ghost
flickers, and wonders
if perhaps he has entered
the wrong house by mistake.
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