“After” by Jane Clarke

Jane Clarke


Now that her heart is bent over 
like larkspur after a storm,
she stays in bed past milking time,
pulling the quilt 
tight around her shoulders 
until her collie barks her 
down the stairs 
to lift the backdoor latch. 
She kneels to light the cipeens 
piled on last night’s embers. 
Her bones creak 
like the bolt on the door of the barn. 
A cup of oats, two cups of water, 
a pinch of salt—
porridge, tea and tablets,
a meal for a queen.
Every day without him 
is too long; 
she’s waiting 
with the tired cows at the gate.

from Rattle #79, Spring 2023
Tribute to Irish Poets


Jane Clarke: “Though I didn’t write my first poem until I was 41, poetry has been part of my life since childhood on a farm in the West of Ireland. The rhythms, imagery, and language of Yeats, Kavanagh, and also Frost and Dickinson resonated with the world around me. When I began to write it was as if I had found an underground stream waiting to come into the light. I write for the pleasure and struggle of finding the words that will sing.” (web)

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