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Unbelonging / Nicki Griffin

Unbelonging

By: Nicki Griffin

€12.00
Nicki Griffin was the 2010 Over the Edge New Poet of the Year. Her debut collection, Unbelonging, has two main themes, both of which examine a sense of displacement. The first is personal, a consideration of dislocation of self in place, both her own and of those who struggle in new countries or within their own communities. The other theme is public and looks at the relationship between those with power and those without, h...
ISBN 978-1-910669-98-3
Pub Date Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Cover Image Stained glass panel by glass artist Kathryna Cuschieri. Photographed by Joe Griffin.
Page Count 70
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Nicki Griffin was the 2010 Over the Edge New Poet of the Year. Her debut collection, Unbelonging, has two main themes, both of which examine a sense of displacement. The first is personal, a consideration of dislocation of self in place, both her own and of those who struggle in new countries or within their own communities. The other theme is public and looks at the relationship between those with power and those without, how this affects our lives in modern western society, our civil liberties, the tensions between human needs and environmental degradation. In the collection she explores the connection between these two aspects of the human condition, how we interact with the world and how, by considering ourselves as separate from and in control of this world we threaten our future existence.

Nicki Griffin

Nicki Griffin grew up in Cheshire in the north west of England, but has lived in County Clare since 1997. Her poetry has been published in a wide variety of journals and anthologies. Her debut collection, Unbelonging, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Award 2014 for best debut collection. The Skipper & Her Mate (non-fiction) was published by New Island in 2013. She was winner of the 2016 Trócaire Poetry Ireland competition. Nicki has read her poems at events and festivals both in Ireland and abroad, and in 2017 was judge of the Over The Edge New Writer of the Year Competition. She is co-editor of poetry newspaper Skylight 47.

The Last Jewel

From under the willows a startle of blue.
I lift my paddle from black water,
let the current take the kayak and watch
the kingfisher jink down the river
pulsing turquoise luminescence,
flashes of your Lapis Lazuli ring
as you lift your hand to a flare
of sunlight through the kitchen window.

My thoughts linger on this morning’s churchyard,
the hollowness of earth on coffin,
and how we’d sit by the water’s edge 
on those faded cane chairs,
their bindings unwinding,
me watching damsel flies fizzle among bulrushes,
you staring into bended reeds
on the distant bank. 

Together we used to walk through the park,
you in your battered mink coat,
gaze fixed ahead as hoodied boys
scooted past on skate boards, 
telling me I should be proud of my blood,
that I’m better than the people here.
I’d stare at the ground, scuff my shoes:
your words corroded me.

That last day you told me again 
of the house with its avenues of oak,
the lake where your brothers fished for pike, 
and the rain-sodden day in that jittery time 
before the war when your soon-to-be lover 
slid a blue-stoned ring on your wedding finger.
I take up my paddle, slice black water,
follow the kingfisher downstream.


3 am

Winter and I am awake again
in the darkness of a moonless night
no light to drive out the black animal
that creeps about my head
tonguing its way around hidden hurts
like an evil mother
licking to life the morbid thoughts
of 3 am.


Security

Before they changed the streetlights to orange
bedrooms were dark enough for ghosts
to mumble between floorboards
hungering for the toes of children.

On no-moon nights shadows slid
along alleyway walls,
while an ear-strain away on the path behind
    footsteps tapped, 
stars the only witness.

Before they changed the streetlights to orange
there were no mechanical eyes
clicking round the town square to spy on
the carnal abandon of teenagers.

Now city nightskies burn vermilion
around the guttering moon,
and all you can see through the trespassing glare
is a pin-point shiny satellite
watching you.


Copyright © Nicki Griffin 2013

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& Literary Centre,
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Ennistymon,
County Clare,
Ireland

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