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Picture 13130526, photograph by Heilman, 1960s, image copyright Mary Evans / Classic Stock

Eggs
by Jane Clarke

 

My grandmother rarely went farther

than the yard, tending her hens, but

I’d have followed her anywhere.

 

Every morning she poured fresh water

and ladled corn into the dented tin dish,

adding handfuls of seeds and grit.

 

From a gap in the galvanised roof

sun lit the lines on her face.

She’d let me reach into nest boxes

 

to grasp warm eggs, then slip them

into her cardigan pockets. She chased

the cantankerous cockerel away

 

and warned, Watch out for men

who fancy themselves. At the kitchen table

we’d divvy up the eggs, roll

 

the surplus in melted lard and salt

and stow them in the scullery,

like pullets roosting on a high shelf.

 

 

© Jane Clarke, commissioned for the Festival in a Van and Poetry Ireland Words Move Tour, 2021

Picture 13130526, photograph by Heilman, 1960s, image copyright Mary Evans / Classic Stock

 

 

Jane Clarke is the acclaimed author of two poetry collections, The River and When the Tree Falls (Bloodaxe Books 2015 and 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. Jane’s awards include the 2016 Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry and the 2016 Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year. She is working on her third collection and combines writing with teaching and mentoring creative writing. www.janeclarkepoetry.ie

 

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