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Picture 11785276, photograph by Paul Kaye, circa 1960s, image copyright Mary Evans / Paul Kaye Collection

Georgie
by Shirley McClure

 

Once she got the knack of automatic writing

it was as if she’d leapt into a river in full spate;

spluttering at first, the words came out in Latin

or Italian, and the hand was bad, almost illegible.

 

Like a moorhen she tuned into where was safe

for nesting. She predicted their first conception.

Not so mysterious, the gossips whispered,

when the cock flew further down the bank,

 

his chest puffed up with lust and magic.

He’ll be back, she forecast, as sure as summer

drought will tame the river, have it crying out

for rain, for rain.

 

 

© Shirley McClure

Picture 11785276, photograph by Paul Kaye, circa 1960s, image copyright Mary Evans / Paul Kaye Collection

 

 

Shirley McClure’s first collection, Who’s Counting?, was published by Bradshaw Books in 2010 and her second collection, Stone Dress, by Arlen House in 2015. Her poetry was widely published in literary journals and she won numerous awards, including Listowel Writers’ Week Originals Poetry Competition 2014, the PENfro Poetry Competition 2015 and runner-up in the Patrick Kavanagh Award 2009. Shirley also taught creative writing with a particular interest in writing and health. After her untimely death from cancer in September 2016 her publisher, Alan Hayes of Arlen House, invited her friend Jane Clarke to edit a New & Collected Shirley McClure, including Shirley’s two published collections, together with 31 beautifully poignant new poems (Origami Doll, Arlen House, May 2019).

 

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