8 October 1904
She didnâ€™t travel west
to bend her head beneath a cottage lintel.
She didnâ€™t carry lilies to the dead
or bid her mother farewell.
She didnâ€™t pack a wedding dress of silk brocade,
no satin nightgown trimmed with lace.
She didnâ€™t linger in her attic bedroom,
wistful for laughter with friends,
but sauntered up the gangway
in wide-brimmed hat and borrowed coat,
saw Jim ahead on the deck,
jagged chin, blue-eyed, smiling.
She whispered to herself,
Iâ€™ll take my chances with him.
Â© Jane Clarke, commissioned by the James Joyce Centre for Bloomsday 2020
Picture 10407665, photograph by John Gay, 1950, image copyright Mary Evans / Historic England
Jane Clarke is the acclaimed author of two poetry collections,Â The River and When the Tree Falls (Bloodaxe Books 2015 & 2019), and an illustrated chapbook, All the Way Home (Smith|Doorstop 2019). She grew up on a farm in Co. Roscommon and now lives with her wife in Glenmalure, Co. Wicklow. Her work explores enduring connections to people, place and nature. Janeâ€™s awards include the 2016 Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry and the 2016 Listowel Writersâ€™ Week Poem of the Year. She is working on her third collection and combines writing with teaching and mentoring creative writing. www.janeclarkepoetry.ie