Bernadette Cremin


Folklore said the track had rusted over
(a feral testament to the unleashed boy)
so the grumble smothered by years of trees
intrigued me like hands in the dark.
Carney is a flint-built nest of half truths
where frowning men murmur and women

simmer over nettle wine, haunting the muddy boys
with tight spun yarns of The Stokeens in the dark
scar of woodland, that tears like green chiffon over
Devlin Mountain. The town is possessed by Larn trees
that spill onto an incessant beach. Carney women
are lean, caramel-skinned and stubborn as truth.

I was enticed to visit it by a seamless woman
who wrote in violet ink. She wore her boy-
figure easily and was contradictory as an oak tree
on the cusp of summer. I was seduced by her dark
toffee skin and she by my name as we conjured vanity over
saki at a mutual friend’s attempt at a party. She wore truth

and deceit in equal measure, and flirted her arrogance over
awkward art, as we stung wit, snaring [it-]our shameless dark
humour by unstitching the polite room of other women.
She was born in Carney under a swollen Larn tree,
her twin brother torn from her by a calloused hand (a boy
that she still begs to unlock her prayers when the truth

confesses.) Then she unveiled the curse that shelters women
who ripen life in the dim season that beckons the Larn trees
to blossom crimson like blushing blood or wounded truth,
so as no other mother need ever have her warm boy
peeled from her, leaving his menacing silence to take over
her dark.

Bernadette Cremin © 2009
[This poem is taken from Cremin's forthcoming volume,
Miming Silence, Waterloo Press 2009]