I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Liffey Street Angelus


Sacred Heart

I.M. of Esther Conroy, 8 Liffey Street, Dublin

If we arrived early I got to see her pink forearms knead the dough
and hear her nail scrape on the plastic mixing bowl
range round with the rhythmic clang of her copper bracelet;
behold the handmaid of the Lord.

When she turned to the sink we prised toasted almonds
from the top of the fruit cake cooling on the sideboard,
her scapular threads peeking from the scullery;
pray for us O Holy Mother of God.

The static pips from the wireless belonged there
with Frawleys, Thomas Street and the venous cod’s roe from Stumpf’s
made plump on the floured board;
and the Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

Her domestic stations done, she sat to the noon bells
and whispered her prayers,
her obedient fingers reading the Lourdes beads;
and she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

from Broken Hill, Lapwing Publications, 2015
(A version of this poem appeared in Incorrigibly Plural: New Writing from the Oscar Wilde Centre.)