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Picture 11054282, image copyright Mary Evans / National Museums Northern Ireland

Bray to Greystones Road
by Shirley McClure


After the roundabout the road lifts:

left, Bray Head, right, the Sugarloaf,

a nest of trees, a lime-green canopy


about the car. I climb the hill, over

the top, the moment that exhilarates.

Today the sea is periwinkle,


the depth of it consumes me.

This hilltop gives up what Wordsworth

sang about, ‘god’s country’,


what hang-gliders return to;

for seconds it is mine.

The graveyard’s on the left;


my chosen resting place,

but no plots for sale. The nice man

tells me to ring again,


as he did six months ago. Nothing

has changed except my body.

There’s another graveyard in Kilquade.



© Shirley McClure

Picture 11054282, image copyright Mary Evans / National Museums Northern Ireland



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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