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Two Poems by E.M. Morrow

E. M. Morrow is a Northern Irish poet, raised in a flashpoint area of working-class Belfast in the aftermath of the Troubles. Her poetry springs from the seeds of intergenerational trauma, memory evoked through symbolism and the surrealism of the unconscious. She has a BSc and MSc in Psychology, and currently works as a trauma therapist.


Perfumed by the sea, she breathes

silver, a balm for moon-burn;

blacksmith blood.


I see what my father sees –

burning skies, a flickering gold

pour along the water’s edge.


Sun-damaged, we drink the primordial

spring, dandelion remedy;

soft-rush occlusive for the eye.


At the wishing tree, her gifts flutter:

parched offerings for an ancient sun.

Dwelling cure from the amber well.


Seedheads rattle the shade.

Bright-faced oracles

turn toward us, unconstrained

heads full of fire.



Mornings golden floret opens,

bristling straw-light over

a heavy herringbone bed.


Maggie’s moon-sick again,

her punishment – crystalline fugue,

the childless charge upon her.

She keeps her seeds close,

skinned and flayed by phantoms: grassfire.


Today, he travels without her.

A walking wishbone, malted and

bundled, toward the salt flat;

a soft-rime fella.


A funeral day: wet-coat apparition

blown toward the shoreline.

Seagulls strain to pull the tide apart.

Her white stalk now stands,

remorseless at his low ebb.


The porphyra dances, swirling purple

quick step in barley sea.

The waves are darkening,

blinded by her buried shell,

the abalone sigh – a mother’s claim he too,

was bruised by the dead.


The sun has forgotten her,

the plucked buttercup girl

twirling under eyelids.

Sometimes he fears the loss,

the soft wisp turning gold in salt grass.


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