Faye Boland; Gorseland, Mystery


(After Ann Tuohy)


Before fair day she’d

scrub his pants and geansaí

on the washboard

with carbolic soap

pray he’d get a good price

for the sheep, enough to buy shoes

to stop the children’s feet


She loved the honey’d smell

of laundered sheets left

to sun-dry on tufts of furze

was grateful for her humble home

on mountainous land where only

sheep would grow.


Under her bed

she kept a tea-chest

a treasure trove of linen and lace

relics of her time in America

before she was matched

to her husband – high-necked blouses

swooshing skirts, dancing shoes,

dainty as a dolls.

Every now and then she’d

lay them out on the bed

revive each garment

then fold, tuck it back in place.

Perfume her tea-chest

with fresh mothballs.



She’s a mystery to him

like the bermuda triangle,

the immaculate conception



The time she fritters

on the phone, at the hairdressers

haemorrhaging money,

her monthly moods.


She’s the wrecking ball of

a man’s freedom, her duster, hoover

bulldozing the peaceful enjoyment

of his tv. An inferno

filling him with an insatiable thirst.


For the slightest transgession

he’ll pay. Freezing him with bitter

eyes, he’ll face her gargoyle grimace,

and in her voice,

that sounds like breaking glass,

he’ll hear his mother.



Faye Boland is winner of the Hanna Greally International Literary Award 2017 and was shortlisted in 2013 for the Poetry on the Lake XIII International Poetry Competition. Her poems have been published in Three Drops From a Cauldron, Skylight 47, The Yellow Nib, The California Quarterly, The Galway Review, Literature Today, The Shop, Revival, Crannóg, Orbis, Wordlegs, Ropes, Headstuff, Silver Apples, Creature Features, The Blue Max Review, Speaking for Sceine Chapbooks, Vols I and II and ‘Visions: An Anthology of Emerging Kerry Writers’

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