Poetry And Reflection From Anne Walsh Donnelly

Featured Artist Anne Walsh Donnelly explores many themes in her writing. Loss, redemption, sexuality and love feature prominently in her work. Some of her fiction is dark and often violent. She grew up in a rural community and this has greatly influenced her work. Animals such as cows, calves, sheep, owls, and bulls all feature in her writing. A lot of her poems and stories are set in rural areas and her characters are often what she describes as being slightly unhinged. 

She says, “I am able to tap into the darkness that exists in the unconscious as well as the light that resides there. The good and bad, hard and soft, sweet and sour. Sometimes my writing makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me cry. It’s a whole-self experience in the best possible way.”

The poem she shares with us today comes from The Blue Nib Poetry Chapbook, 2, which features eight of Anne’s rural based poems.

Prayers after Communion
(i)
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
God, would ya make it okay to be gay?
Or strike Jack Doyle dumb.
Stop him calling me a “shirt-lifter.”

Would ya give me A’s in my Leaving Cert?
So I can get away from me Ma,
Da and squealing bonhams.

Would ya strike me dead if I went to confess
me sins and rode Fr. Murphy in the box?
I’d say a hundred decades of the rosary, after.

Would ya let me join the seminary,
if I fail the Leaving?
I’d look good in white vestments.

(ii)
Dear God, please don’t let me kill my husband.
Stood over the bed last night with the bread knife.
I’d have cut his nose off, only for the baby crying.
I can’t cope with those Guinness snores.

Doc says if I take some tablets I won’t be as jittery.
Says women get a bit down after having a baby.
Down, me arse. I love babies. 
I want another, but husband won’t come near me.

Says he’ll only go in covered.
His cousin’s coming home from London
at Christmas, with a case full of condoms.
Says I’ll have to wait till then.

That’s months away. 
And the killer is –
he’s great at making babies.
Knows exactly how to get me going.

(iii)
Oh my God, the wife nearly killed me last night.
Worst nightmare I’ve ever had.
When I woke up she was in the bed beside me feeding the baby.

And now she wants another one. As if thirteen wasn’t enough.
I’m afraid to go near her in case she gets pregnant again.
Have to go to the bathroom to get relief.

God, would you take the notion
of wanting more kids out of her head? Doc
says he’ll prescribe the pill on medical grounds.

(iv)
Dear Heavenly Father, would you give a special blessing
to the husband and wife in the front row.
They both look wretched. It must be very difficult

for them, trying to raise all those children. 
Would you make sure their young buck, 
the one with the tight jeans does well in his exams

and send him off to Dublin?
It’s very hard to say Mass
when he’s looking at me with his dog-in-heat eyes

and long fingers playing piano on his crotch.
I have to lock the door of the confessional box
when I see him coming for absolution.

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