Sunday 25 April 2021

Three Powerful Poems by Lynda Tavakoli


Chimney Song

(i.m. Oscar and Valeria Ramirez)


From the throat of the chimney, a song,

smoke-trilled in a hearth’s open mouth,

a blackbird offering his end of day story

to earth and sky, while here

in my sitting room the world shifts.


On television, a father and child,

his t-shirt backpacking her small frame

suddenly a weight of stones in the current.

Catch of the day.


I muzzle the sound, drown a flow

of blame mouthed from the screen

and in my sitting room catch a blackbird’s

song swallowing up the space 

between here and the Rio Grande.





I am an image in monochrome -

a flipper sucking stubborn

to a naked foot, plastic suicide vest

bottling my chest; death floats, all.

My last swim, my last.


Drag me from the shallows,

discover secrets of my insignificance

bagged around the protest of a drenched throat -

mobile telephone, memory card intact,

leaking the riddle of my shattered history.


For here I am, ten thousand pixels

washed in technicolour,

my wanderings weaved frame to frame,

preserved like floaters swimming

in the salty lenses of your eyes.



The Reach


He lays a map upon the table

fingering their long journey

from the smudge of home

and stabs redlined borders

that thread like arteries over the creases.

He does not want his children to forget.


His touch finds the place

they should now call home –

this wound on the paper

where their healing can begin

and where every voyage taken

gives promise of a new life.


Yet his head harbours lists

reluctant to recede, grievances

as infinite as time passing in foreign tongues,

remembered losses that may still break him

and an ache for the land left hungry and alone,

withering into a sort of history.


This is their future now, reached

by the single span of a hand across a map.

He will pleat his sorrow into its folds,

pocketing the past in that place

where every road must surely lead

and only the persistent heart can finally know.


Lynda Tavakoli lives in County Down, Northern Ireland, where she facilitates an adult creative writing class and is a tutor for the Seamus Heaney Award for schools.  A poet, novelist and freelance journalist, Lynda’s writings have been published in the UK, Ireland, the US and the Middle East, with Farsi and Spanish translations.

Lynda has been winner of both poetry and short story prizes in Listowel, The Westival International Poetry Prize and runner-up in The Blackwater International Poetry Competition and Roscommon Poetry Competition. Her poems have also appeared in The Irish Times, New Irish Writing.

She was recently a guest poet on RTE1 The Poetry Programme and her poem, ‘You’re Beautiful’, was featured in the ‘Words Lightly Spoken’ podcast.

Her debut poetry collection, ‘The Boiling Point for Jam’ is published by Arlen House and includes these three poems which concern the plight of refugees, a subject that has sadly been forgotten about recently.







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