We're delighted to present our Poem Of The Day, presented in association with Poetry Ireland.
Today's poem is A Landscape Forfeited to Snow by Eleanor Hooker - read it below.
Centre the table beneath the mirror,
place the instruments, freshly bladed,
on the sewing bench, house suction and diathermy
in their cradles, and within reach. Tie down
the stretched, starched linen, leave no crease.
Increase the heat - blood clots readily in warm air.
Undress. Angle the light, settle yourself on the table.
Lie a moment.
A pfannenstiel incision is best, neat, along the bikini line –
you've been opened there before, for the babies.
Cut. Suction. Cauterize. Retract muscle and gut
until you reveal a landscape forfeited to snow. Wait.
Songbirds will emerge from the tear in your world,
let them fly about the room – when you return,
they will return to you, willingly. Now, venture inside.
Though you’re only shadow-light, do not walk
the frozen river. For protection, carry Rowan.
Memory stains snow where it lands, follow your old track
to the lake. Careful! Don’t touch – those are hands reaching
through the ice, not reeds, this is a treacherous body of water.
Aside from your birds, and the many versions of yourself
drowned in the ice, you are sole citizen, those voices
are echoes of a lifetime speaking to ghosts.
The cairn, stopped by snow, is east of you. A vast silence
echoes round it, out there where your life ends –
remove eight stones, reach in to detach your music
from the dark. Carry it back. Carry it back to the world.
It’s getting late, before your birds fly back to you,
return your song to the cairn, replace the stones,
remove all markers - this is the fourth time
this year you’ve cut to that place. No more.
Gather yourself in a continuous dissolvable suture.
Ask – was it worth it?
Is the consequence hopelessness?
Entrust your melody to strangers, never your song.
About the Poet: Eleanor Hooker has published two poetry collections with Dedalus Press: A Tug of Blue (2016); The Shadow Owner's Companion (2012). Her third collection will be published in 2020. Eleanor holds an MPhil (Distinction) in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. She is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. She is a helm for Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat. She curates the Rowan Tree Readings. Her poems appear in literary journals internationally, including: Poetry Ireland Review, POETRY magazine (forthcoming), PN Review, The Stinging Fly, Agenda. The Well Review, Irish Times, Banshee (forthcoming) and Winter Papers. Her poetry has been broadcast on RTÉ.