Wednesday 10 March 2021

Two Poems by Bern Butler


The Wry Brooch

As a girl I could not fathom why she never

wore the mother-of-pearl brooch, enhanced

with clusters of diamantes, Mother etched

across its middle in copperplate script.


Like a magpie, I took it sometimes from

the box on her dressing table, tipped it so

light caught the pinky-green of its pearly hue,

dappled the ceiling with sprightly streaks.


Older, I picture her accepting the gift

decades before from one of us eight kids,

probably hating its kitsch, but smiling 

nonetheless with tolerant grace


most likely thinking

as we swarmed around her,

As if I needed reminding.

Looking into My Mother’s Handbag

After Maura Dooley


Powder from her compact moon streaked

black-sky lining, settled like snow

in pockets, dredged zipped boreens.


Under clouds of crumpled handkerchief

her brother’s coltish face looks out

the grainy window of a memorial card.


There is the book with the mythical

bird from Liverpool. St. Christopher wades

with Christ, unchained, beneath her purse.


I spy green glass rosary beads curled

asleep in a corner; pick them up

by their flimsy metal crucifix


feel the sacrificial figure

beneath my thumb, bent knees.

Unfurl the pious coil, let beads spill


in staggered rosary, hyphenated

waterfall, let them pool in my palm.

Curl fingers not allowing


a precious, jagged drop escape.

I do this again and again,

trying to recapture her.

Bern Butler is a writer and teacher from Galway Ireland. Her poetry has appeared in Force 10, The Ropes Anthology, The Galway Review, Vox Galvia, North West Words, The Blue Nib,, Abridged 0-60, The Ireland Chair of Poetry, Ink Sweat & Tears, She holds an MA in Writing from NUI Galway.


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