For Poetry Day Ireland, enjoy Milena Williamson's poem An Irish Woman Travels to England, as selected by Poetry Ireland.

An Irish Woman Travels to England

I cross the Irish Sea imagining

the curve of your chin and your eyes opening,

adjusting to light. The world is initially

strange. Above the clouds, the atmosphere

thins. Darling, you’ve mastered mimicry.

You practice the art of breathing, swallowing

the yellowish liquid that cradles you, sampling

what feeds you, nutrient-rich. You imitate

the rise and fall of my lungs. It’s difficult

to talk to you now. In the hospital

I will not sing. No more lullabies

until I feel the anaesthesia –

it arrives like a circus at night, stealthily

setting up tents and unlatching the animals

who claw at their costumes and howl as you

hang upside down on the red trapeze.

Previously published by The Poetry Jukebox, Belfast

About The Poet: Milena Williamson is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in creative writing at Queen’s University Belfast. Her project is entitled ‘War, Images, Memory: Irish and American Poetry, 1990 – present’.  She was the winner of the Mairtín Crawford Poetry Award in 2018.  Her poetry has been published in or is forthcoming from The Tangerine, the Poetry Jukebox in Belfast, the Lifeboat reading series, Poetry Ireland Review, The North, and Blackbird: New Writing from The Seamus Heaney Centre.