Poem of the Week | April 28, 2014

This week we feature a poem by Kerry Hardie from our current spring issue, 37.1. Hardie has published seven collections of poetry with The Gallery Press, Ireland. Her Selected Poems were published by Boodaxe Press, U. K., which will also publish her next collection in 2014. She has also written two novels, Hannie Bennett’s Winter Marriage (Harper Collins) and The Bird Woman (Little, Brown) and is currently working on a third. She has won many prizes, including the National Poetry Prize (Ireland) and the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry, University of St Thomas, Minnesota.
Author’s note:

This poem is from a sequence of poems written after the death in Delhi, India, in January 2012 of my youngest brother, Paddy Jolley. Although baptized a Christian, Paddy was cremated in Delhi in accordance with Hindu funeral rites. He lived in Ireland but he knew and loved India and had worked there many times.


Watching the Fire Take Your Body


Remember those blue irises I’d left for years?


You dug them out with Sean’s big fork,
then left them on the grass for me to split.


After you’d gone I wrenched and tore.
Got nowhere, gave up struggling, fetched the spade.


That mat of yellow roots, the slicing blade,
the last despairing heave, the rain of soil—


the shock still live and scorching through my flesh.