She has the grit-heart for her kind – the drive of a plant,
ant or virus to rule earth, the place a flood, a famine
have in time, the dirt a forest sucks to live forever, the treasure
of floating mitochondria, centrioles, basal bodies, spirochete bacteria,
each in its own small history, swimming to fill membraned cells
minded to become brain that webs consciousness to sound bites,
of geniuses who collide hadrons, hack whole forests for conscientious
busy roads, set strife-striving bounds to nations’ barbed wire greatness,
holding the world in hands that punch a hole in the whole they are part of.
She weighs what we have done as small histories play out –
Leo, trailing Holloway Road blues in his bones, lifting oyster bags;
Gerry baiting his traps, captured in the clattering blades flaming from Bellanaboy;
Gallagher scurrying from his helipad as red on the water spreads
all the way west, beneath ash dark clouds, their crescent moon broken; terns
dive brilliant white into the chill tide race ripping on the daily bread of stones.
To the east, Yasmin’s small world spins around her, a tiny event
in all the world of no home to go to, down to the barbed wire,
washed up in another great exodus washing across the ocean.
“Who is holding Ramo?” such a small human thing, still warm,
wet in her arms in the black night. Her destiny to dream of the tiny event
in all the world that made a corpse of him and all his proper dreams,
of diving breathless into the chill sea, seeing his face, blue, gone.
With terrible dignity and grit-heart, “Ramo drowned, we go on”,
as the vampire squid, deep in oily blood, makes a nation great again.
She weighs the brains that cry out for love with the chill hearts of stone
that sling “swarming migrants”, while quantum terns find their way home
and Yasmin flees in the rising seas incarnadine.
Now living in Kildare, Kevin Conroy has worked in U.K., Germany, Swaziland, South Africa, U.S. and Ireland as a teacher, chemical engineer, manager in multinationals, executive coach and organisational psychologist. He has been published in The Irish Times, the moth, THE SHOp, Southword, Burning Bush II, Boyne Berries, The Blue Max Review, erbacce, The Runt magazine, Skylight 47, Poets meet Politics 2016 anthology and the Hibernian Writers’ 2016 anthology The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work. A prize-winner in Trocaire & Poetry Ireland Competition 2012 & shortlisted for the Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition 2014, he was selected for Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series 2014, shortlisted for Fool for Poetry Chapbook 2015, Cork Literary Review Poetry Manuscript 2014 and Fish Poetry Prize 2016. He was runner-up in The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2016 for a selection of 20 poems. Married to Máirín O’Malley and with three sons, Kevin lectures part-time in Technology Management & Innovation in ITT Dublin, and also guest lectures in Managing Complexity. In his spare time he may be found in his studio painting, walking on a mountain or kayaking on sea or down-river.
“From Murrisk pier you can see out along Clew Bay to the horizon. On one of those entrancing sunsets, all reds and pinks and orange, below a crescent moon, I wasn’t alone. Two locals were finishing up for the day – Leo, home here after 30 years in London working ‘on the lump’, and Gerry, deported for being ‘illegal’ from New York after 20 years. The herring were running and I was watching the terns diving, thinking about their incredible migration from pole to pole – 40,000 miles for these small birds. Only recently, scientists discovered how they use the earth’s magnetic field in their journey – quantum entanglement via light photons triggering interactions on a chemical in their eyes. Einstein called quantum entanglement “spooky action at a distance” – where two electrons once they “shake hands”, remain entangled even when separated by vast distances.
I was marvelling at the human intelligence that this discovery exemplified, when the peace was shattered by Gallagher’s helicopter roaring in from Shell’s Corrib Gas terminal in Bellanaboy – the scene of years of local protests. That was the day the report came through of Yasmin and Ramo who had fled in a rubber boat to Lesbos from Syria.”