Three Poems

By Anne Casey

A terrible beauty

“In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.”

‘Easter, 1916’ by William Butler Yeats

Breathing the same
cubic centimetres of air
his navy eyes holding
mine and mysteries
I will never fathom
two sentient beings
regarding each other
through a flimsy metal screen.

Just weeks ago,
I might have suffocated him
without a second glance,
this extraordinary creature
now keeping me
entirely entranced.
Master of hidden microcosms,
unexpected spellbinder

before he turns
back to his communal duties,
spitting and piling
to conjure this structure
so uncannily like a bone
-white copy of a COVID-19 molecule
and I am abandoned once more
to my isolation

and the faint hum
of mud wasps spitting, piling.

Antipodean interlude

Thrilled shrieks
pierce still blue
afternoon—
a party in the garden:
saffron, crimson
emerald slivers
swirl from overhanging
branches as
lorikeets cluster
to feast on
teeming liquid
-ambar seed pods and,
embracing these welcome
minutes’ distraction
from distancing measures,
calls from ‘home’
half a world away—
a fourth family
member lost to this
silently creeping curse,
I spread wide my arms,
stretch heart skyward,
breathe deeply under
overarching boughs
and open my eyes
to a small universe
of grey-brown spheres
gently swaying
midst the frenzied
feeding,
each one so like
a tiny spiky
Death Star
a perfect
wooden replica
of a COVID-19 cell.

(First published in Boyne Berries 28, Summer 2020: The COVID Issue for Poetry Ireland Day 2020.)

Regenesis

If ever you find yourself
in a place of unusual incongruity,
at odds with someone, something
or other, the whole universe, or even
just yourself,
take the time
to remember
when everything was grey
and all over the world
people were dying
of one thing
or another
(but mostly that one thing)
—a disappearing as if
into an abyss:
a great grey abscess
which was an absence
and how: when it became clear,
a wave, small at first
then swelling to a
tremendous roar
filled the whole world
with the understanding
and that was called
the end of times
because after it
came the beginning:
and the world
was made new,
filled
with that
essential
that had
once been

so greatly
missing

if only we had realised
sooner.

(First published in Live Encounters Magazine, Vol 1, December 2020.)

Anne Casey is an internationally award-winning Irish poet/writer living in Australia. Author of two collections, with two books forthcoming in 2021, her work ranks in The Irish Times’ Most Read.

As an immigrant to Australia from the west of Ireland, one of the most difficult aspects of this time of COVID has been separation from home and family on the far side of the world, particularly as we have lost family members during the crisis. These poems explore these losses and isolation, while seeking solace in nature.

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Hank Dallago
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Hank Dallago
4 months ago

Regenesis is a particularly poignant poem about the pandemic and well written to include the ending lines, “if only we had realised sooner.” Thank you for sharing your wonderful work on this terrific site.

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