Monday Jul 22

DonovanKatie Katie Donovan is an Irish poet based in Dalkey, a suburb of Dublin. She has published five collections of poetry, all with Bloodaxe Books UK. The most recent, Off Duty, was shortlisted for The Irish Times/Poetry Now prize in 2017. She also received the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry in 2017. Her work has been widely anthologized, notably in The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry (edited by Peggy O’Brien) and Staying Alive: real poems for unreal times (edited by Neil Astley).

The Lane

Violet, valerian,
daisy, wallflower,
bluebell and fern—
all rooted there
on a whim—
now gone.
After six bald weeks,
of hard core
and builder’s dust,
the wind carries in
leaf swathes
of ochre and russet.
Under this coverlet
small shoots push,
quick to reclaim
their ground—
as though the clearing—
cutting, digging,
rolling and packing—
had never even


Muffled mist of morning
and the tide perfect,
no-one to share with
but the lady in her robe
who turns out to be a bather
like me. Not enough sun
to coax a crowd.
The light-house and the town
are lapped
in a damp limpid zone.
The water is silk:
silvery blue sways me.
This secret assignation
is the gift
of my week away:
cycling alone, early,
wheels loosening
down white walled lanes,
past green shutters,
orange trumpets
and purple tassled blooms,
to my swim.
Later I can visit
the florid market,
make serious purchases
in the bakery,
and wait to indulge
what others fancy.

The Deflowering

Because I was torn
in the teeth of the world
I need to purloin a pure thing;
renew myself in a lake of sweet balm.

They are so pretty, and without knowledge
they can be led. Or fed the drug
that opens doors.

Then they are mine
to lay down, plough down, eat their bones.

I dip my wand in cream, 
I oil the wheels of my machine,
I school them so they tap out my routine.