We're delighted to present our Poem For The Day, presented in association with Poetry Ireland.
Today's poem is Valentine by Mary Noonan, taken from her collection Stone Girl (Dedalus Press 2019) - read it below.
The girls are in their knickers again.
It's that time of year. There are hearts –
red, plush or sparkly – dangling in windows,
and teddy bears, and girls. Undressed.
It must be cold under the white lights
of the display. The yellow street lamps add
a sickly glow to the anemic bodies. They look
pinched, the thin girls in their frillies – pale
pink lace balcony bras and high-rise briefs
with touches of white satin. One girl
stares out, brazenly, a ring-leader of sorts.
She’s the one who has graduated to wearing
scarlet and black, with sheer stockings and
suspender-belt. The works.
The new storms – Gertrude, Henry –
are blowing in from America, up-scuttling
bins, rivers. There are ice crystals in the
low-flying clouds, causing rainbow effects.
A child on his way home from school stops
to take in the hearts, the teddies, the scanties,
mesmerised by their magical affinities.
I stand there imagining what happens
at 4 a.m., when there’s only a dim night-light
burning, and the tableau vivant starts to move.
The mannequins peel red tinfoil from heart-
shaped chocolates and scoff them, then lie
under heavy blankets dragged from the next
window and hold each other. Sleep.
About The Poet: Mary Noonan teaches French literature at University College Cork. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, PN Review, The Dark Horse, Poetry London, The Spectator and The Threepenny Review. She won the Listowel Poetry Collection Prize in 2010 for the manuscript of her first collection. That collection – The Fado House (Dedalus Press, 2012) – was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize and the Strong/Shine Award. In 2014, she was awarded an Arts Council of Ireland Literature Bursary. A limited edition pamphlet, Father (Bonnefant Press) was published in 2015. Also in 2015, she curated This Dust of Words, a poetry translation series in which contemporary European poets read with their English-language translators and discussed the process of translation.