Grainne Daly, poet

Faith/Football is a great way to unite/divide a city

Battle cries and lullabies of bhoys in green
around Paradise drown songs of men
waving Union Jacks to God Save the Queen

thick lines of police stand between
Tricolours and the blue of Goven
Battle cries and lullabies of bhoys in green

the throbbing beat of Parkhead’s theme
visitors have come for blood again
waving Union Jacks singing God Save the Queen

on the London Road they’ll kill a teen
because he’s not their brethren
battle cries and lullabies of bhoys in green

with fight in their voice in the name of a team
the song of the blues sparks mayhem
waving Union Jacks singing God Save the Queen

they taunt of the famine, call natives Fenian
while kids look on and mimic the men
battle cries and lullabies of bhoys in green
waving Union Jacks singing God Save the Queen

Greywood Alight

Tiger flames lick the mist in the Killeagh air, hissing something about the Union

A face in a window stares back at the boy
with paraffin palms, revelling in the heat of his creation

The doves of Glenbower Woods coo
to the crackle of burning beams, whispering ‘go home’

Steel toe boots clamber down bare stairs –
chorus of iambic beat charging to arrest the Fenian

Dissour waters poured on Greywood –
bucketfuls of burning river spat back by the blaze at the uniforms

Sentenced to a week as Writer in Residence in an old RIC Barracks now known as Greywood Arts, charged with having won a poetry competition. Soon after arriving, I resolved to commit acts of such poetry more often. And poetry was what I thought I’d get done during my stay, but I managed to find the time to edit a novel, write two short stories, edit poems that had been on the backburner for a while and write some new ones. The inspirational setting ignites your creative self.

I was enamoured by the sense of history in the place. From the sash windows in the glorious writing room to some original furniture still in use throughout and a hurl from 1932 made by Christy Ring’s hurley maker, the place whispers of times past. The view of the Dissour waters, strolls in Glenbower Woods and a few creamy ones in P. Kennedy’s pub fuelled me, just as the history of the place intrigued me.

My villanelle Faith/Football is a great way to unite/divide a city is about the Scottish Old Firm rivalry. The form was chosen so I could reflect the Celtic and Rangers football chants and the narrative of hate that we get when both Glasgow teams are in the same equation.  Unsurprisingly, the theme of Greywood Alight has similar themes of ‘them and us’ and pertains to the 1920 attack on Greywood RIC Barracks by an IRA member.

Grand National is a poem I started back in April on a trip to the Bookies to do (unsuccessful) Aintree bets and the final poem Parked on Sandymount Strand is about adventure.

Grand National

thick with men
who stare at walls
for a mouse or a ruby
steam spirals from wet windcheaters
a Nike top drips rain
onto a faggot of dwarf pens
boy retreats in shock
seeing greyhounds instead of horses
a mat of dockets on the floor Persian rug of mistaken chances Guinness tanins haze the air
coins on the counter
notes slid back and forth
a code transcends the hatch
into the turf
creed of pilgrims laying-on
the steeplechase

Parked at Sandymount Strand

Freight ship sails
by Poolbeg lighthouse, weighed
down with containers of
lace goods stitched by
Far Eastern fingers, fine Sri Lankan
incense, Emirati oils of
myrrh and musk, soft
Italian leathers, strings of Pacific pearls, packed in tight,
just like those in my case,
ready for a maiden voyage
to a double room, in a
Ballsbridge hotel, steam rises
from the chimneys, I slip into
gear, make my way towards you

Gráinne Daly is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and most recently University College Dublin where she graduated with a first class MA in Creative Writing. She was recently shortlisted for the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry, Maeve Binchy UCD Travel Award 2017 and Robert Monteith Poetry Prize. Her work came third place in the Anthony Cronin International Poetry Prize and was recently published in Southword Magazine and Pocket Change Journal. A recipient of the South Dublin County Council Artist’s Bursary 2016, Gráinne is currently working on her debut novel and a collection of poetry. Her work is due to appear in an Anthology entitled ‘Letters to my Ex’, and ‘Bridges Between’, which is a collection of new International writing by recent UCD graduates. 

Gráinne was the 2017 recipient of Greywood Art’s Winter Writing Residency Award for poetry.