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Saturday, March 21, 2020

An Evening Meditation (Poem for World Poetry)

Evening Meditation (Sun Holds Moon)

In the day observe your distance, keep apart,
but swaddle life as a precious child, and nature
as kindred, the solitary tree, a long-lost friend.

Now more than ever the earth is your home,
its sure ground the centre of your being,
its heart within your heart, footfall beating

a steady path along the rhythm of breath.
Gather armfuls of flowers to make bouquets
of the coming months, April and May.

Observe the silence of the half-light of dawn,
the twilight of evening and listen, to chirping birds,
the trilled echoes of memory barely vibrating

on the surface of the mind, calm water,
the reservoir of the self to be drawn upon,
a renewable, replenished well, an ocean.

Drink deeply from its star-filled source
brim-full of knowledge, heed the spirit’s whispering
of the inward opening door,

the realm within realm, gaze once more
on a cosmic tenderness, magnificence, beauty,
hold court with true love, a conscious union.

Orla Fay

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Pluto's Hidden Stars

I'm back to you today blog for a wee check-in. Trim Poetry Festival was cancelled due to the pandemic. Well done to Patrick Lodge who won the poetry competition and to Maeve McKenna and Matt Hohner who were joint runners-up. Patrick's poem can be read here. Boyne Berries 27 has also been released and can be purchased via PayPal here.

I was delighted to have my debut poetry collection accepted by Jessie Lendennie of Salmon Poetry. It will be published in spring 2023. This is something I've been working towards for a long time.

Recently I had a poem published in Tales from the Forest, issue 11, Lore. I have poems forthcoming in Crannóg 52, Impossible Archetype and The Lake at the end of the month and early April. More news to follow of a possible reading in the summer and other things.

Yesterday I admired the buds growing on the trees, the daffodils and the first of the primroses. I've included a very old poem below in honour of the daffodils. I'm always struck by how luminous they can seem in the twilight, or the early morning light. Their trumpets really do herald the end of wintertime, the beginning of spring. The photo is my own, just taken in the garden.

Pluto’s Hidden Stars

All is silent
in the countryside
in anticipation,
where a watching child
holds her breath.
Alone in the frosted night
his mindset is fogged and closing.
Between the villages
cars travel, their headlights
search through thick air.
Wipers swish moisture.
Behind trees there is a bogeyman.
Dogs bark.
Pluto has taken all the stars
and hidden the moon
in the loneliness of falling to sleep.
In the morning ridden away
my cold dawn wakes.
In his trail a scattering
of daffodil heads;
unfound hidden stars.

Orla Fay

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Boyne Berries 27

Cover design by Rory O'Sullivan

Boyne Berries 27 will be launched on Friday, 13th March at 7.30 pm by Pat Dunne as part of Trim Poetry Festival. Pat Dunne was born in Trim, Co. Meath and is an internationally successful crime writer. Dunne studied English and Philosophy at UCD and worked as Press Officer for Bord na gCapall before joining RTÉ Radio where he produced the station’s flagship Gerry Ryan Show. He retired in 2004 to become a full-time writer. Meath’s history and heritage feature prominently in his archaeological thrillers. Dunne is also a regular contributor to Sunday Miscellany on RTÉ Radio 1 and lives in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, with his wife Theckla. 

This issue contains the work of the ten poets shortlisted for Trim Poetry Competition 2020 and 42 other pieces of work. Those included are:

Kate Ennals Liam McNevin Arthur Broomfield Eamon Cooke Dan A. Cardoza Seán Kennedy Peter Goulding Felicia McCarthy Polly Richardson Mark Ward Stephen de Búrca Kevin Graham Peter Adair Lorraine Carey Angela Kirwan Michael Farry Justin Aylward Anne Crinion Glenn Hubbard Richard W. Halperin Sinéad MacDevitt Carolyne Van Der Meer Honor Duff Diarmuid Fitzgerald Marc Gijsemans K.S. Moore L.R. Harvey Eugene Platt Elizabeth McGeown Róisín Bugler Niamh Twomey Maria Isakova Bennett Gerard Smyth Rory Duffy Linda Ibbotson Conor Kelly Orla Fay Frances Browne Matt Hohner Catherine Conlon John D. Kelly David Butler Martin Sykes Marian Brannigan Patrick Lodge Karen O’Connor Maeve McKenna Steve Wade Claire Hennessy John Conroy Jenny Andersson Anne Callan

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Brigid's Beauty

Magdalene with the Smoking Flame
La Madeleine a la flamme filante
Georges de La Tour

Brigid’s Beauty

What must it have been like for her,
sweet sixteen, betrothed by her father
to the King of Ulster?

Wanting a different life, a rebel,
she prayed that her beauty
be taken away.

When ordained God gave
Brigid back the eye he had taken
in her veiling.

Her path was of milk and flowers
and the purity of her soul
was a great gift the Christians said,

but pagans recognised her witchery,
the magic of the miracles
and the splendid power of tales.

Her light lit the chambers of Tara.
Divinity was Imbolg, in the belly,
Spring’s flint, Candlemas,

Lá Fhéile Muire na gCoinneal,
a Mary of candles, goddess,
cloaked keeper of the grail.

Orla Fay

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Trim Poetry Competition 2020

I will co-judge Trim Poetry Competition again this February. Last year the Boyne Writers Group secretary gave me around 220 poems which I read carefully. All poems were anonymous. As I read I placed work I considered of special merit in a separate pile knowing that I would have to whittle the stack down to 30.

The second part of the process was done with fellow adjudicator Michael Farry. We had chosen very different poems but we did have some choices in common. We discussed these preferences and after some time came up with a shortlist of 10. In the end a couple of poems were in the running for overall winner. This year we will have two runners-up.

10 poems will again be shortlisted and these 10 will be published in Boyne Berries 27. The overall winner will receive €500 and 2 runners-up will receive €100 each. To be shortlisted in a competition is a great honour as I know myself as a poet.

Things that attract me to a poem are a fitting and clever title, correct spelling and grammar, a well crafted poem, formal poetry, lyrical poetry and free verse, poems with emotion, unexpected poems, poems that try to say something different, poems that ache, poems that bleed, poems that try to heal, the voice of the poet, striking use of language, humble language and above all, imagery.

Good luck! I'm looking forward to reading your creations.

To enter there is a fee of €5 per poem or €10 for 3 poems. Entries are by email to 

Further details on how to enter can be found here.

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Persistence of Time

New Year Sunset, December 2019

Happy New Year to all reading. I hope that 2020 will bring you health and happiness. I've written a poem today to mark the end of an often difficult decade. When I went for a walk earlier I saw a lady in a red coat in the distance and that was the seed of the poem. A quick thank you to Dodging the Rain, The Pickled Body and Atrium Poetry who recently published my work.

The Persistence of Time

I wonder if she is more a future figure than a past,
this lady of the year, in a red coat festive stepping
around the corner that stretches to a decade-long length of road?

It is only when she is out of view that I wonder.

I do remember when the 80s became the 90s,
all that revolution, and when the 90s turned millennium.
2009 was an ice-cube in the Harvey Wallbanger of the 2010s.

It is only when she is out of view that I wonder.

This late afternoon could be an abstract of time,
its dreary sky combined with misting rain makes tree-clocks.
Dull, surreal faces spin about bare branch tops.

It is only when she is out of view that I wonder.

The big hand spire of the church takes me back
to Christmas morning, the sleepy mass, hymns
dreamlike, the intoxication of cloying incense.

It is only when she is out of view that I wonder.

Now I have the present and a different communion,
those walking whose spirits flicker like candle flames
in the oppressiveness of the day with chants of greeting

“A Happy New Year to you!”
The religiosity of life lays itself down for my attention,
a path both worn and unworn unknown.

Salvador Dali, musing, strokes his giant moustache before me.
When she is out of sight it is troubling to consider
that the past is the future in a rear-view mirror.

Orla Fay