This week's Poem Of The Week, presented in association with Poetry Ireland, is Domínio Vale do Mondego by Roisin Kelly.
Domínio Vale do Mondego
You beat the branches with a stick, so that olives fall
as quickly as the days are passing.
Every night at the press: the smell of crushed olives
like warm darkness you could eat.
Here they eat their bread with olive oil and salt.
At dawn the olive nets are glittering with frost.
The harvest must be brought in before the solstice,
your flock of sheep must be brought in before the night.
The terraces in this valley are ancient.
Pine needles make quiet the old Roman road.
When I close my eyes all I see is olives, falling.
And you, bending to pick up a lamb
just as the pink terraces of dusk begin to fade.
A shepherd, a farmer, efficient and practical man.
But more than anyone, you know how an hour
has no meaning: there is only a sheep’s bell
that chimes in the distance between you, and the time left
in which you can follow it. In this village
of shawled widows, who might they call witch?
At the river I write your name on an apple,
cast it in water as black as your name.
Turbines pause turning on the mountain,
their red bulbs glowing on each blade.
Above the Spanish border, an eagle floating – forever.
Olives rise from nets and hover mid-air.
Now: is it day? Is it night? It is neither.
The air is a pure colour.
Roisin Kelly was born in the north of Ireland, brought up in Leitrim and has lived in Cork. Southword published her first volume, the chapbook Rapture, in 2016. In the same year her work was shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award. She is the winner of the Fish Poetry Prize for 2017. Roisin is the featured poet in the current issue of the Poetry Ireland Review.