We're delighted to present our Poem Of The Day, presented in association with Poetry Ireland

Today's poem is Dress 1979, by A.M. Cousins - read it below.


The blue summer dress,

purchased in haste –

nine-ninety nine in A-Wear –

was woven entirely from viscose

with an elasticated waist

that facilitated the swelling belly;

gentle gathers at shoulder level

drew the eye from the ripening breasts

and the skirt skimmed the hips.

A pattern of scattered red pencils

made the priest smile when I walked to the altar.

Morning sickness struck directly after the vows

and the floor came towards me.

I remember some embarrassed laughter

when my new mother-in-law fetched water

from the sacristy and held it to my lips,

her steadying arm around my waist.

I didn't care much then.

I care now.

I care that I broke their hearts,

that, all those years ago, I made my mother cry

and my father may have cried too

as he shook his head because, even with a degree

under my belt, I was as foolish as the ones

who gave it all away for nothing and tried

to cover their tracks with corsets

that pinched and squeezed under wedding dresses.

The dress hangs in my wardrobe –

I check it every now and then –

the waist sags slightly,

the hem has been adjusted

to accommodate changing fashions

but the blue holds fast to its man-made fibres

and the interfacing  still supports the collar.