Today, we return to poetry with the first of three poems by Mairi Murphy, dealing with the tragic desertion of a village on the Achill Island during the Irish famine of 1845.
‘Famine Village, Achill Island’ by Mairi Murphy
Slievemore black, black against the sky
scattered on the mountainside my
children scramble goats among sheep
unmortared stones pile gable ends
cottaged along a mossy track
plainstone hearths and shelving empty
unwelcome at the door, this gorta mor
brings no birthing on the kitchen table,
sings no dancing on the hard earth floor
in Westernmost graveyard, Mulligans
cling to the hill: now I know
how deep a hungered migration
pierces the heart’s core
Mairi Murphy graduated last autumn from Glasgow University with a Masters in Creative Writing. Whilst there she was awarded the 2016 Alistair Buchan Prize for poetry for which two of her poems were also shortlisted. Recently her poems have been published in ‘Shetland Create’, ‘From Glasgow to Saturn’ and ‘Crooked Holster (an anthology of crime). She is the editor of ‘Glasgow Women Poets’ published by Four-em Press in 2016, of which she is the co-founder.