Blackbox manifold

Issue 15: Tara Bergin


It means habitual sleeplessness

but I’m going to use it anyway.

I’m going to use it while I have my say:

I bit their hands,

I looked into their mouths –

do you know what I’m saying?

I made a mistake –

I took Christ’s Tears

and placed them with the peelings

and the bones.

Yes. That’s how it was:

in the one hand I had a flower,

and in the other hand I had a flower,

and I didn’t know what to do.

And then the radio’s biblical news

and the breaking voice of a man:

we will fight on the Mountain

the tears of the Messiah

will not have been shed in vain

and then –

it’s not too late!

And out behind the gate I sank my hands

amongst the peelings and the bones

and found at last Christ’s bruised and stinking tears.

I laid them out to dry upon the stones.

And then the radio still speaking,

explaining that the meaning of hope,

in their language,

is bound up with waiting.

What a sentence!

Do they know what they are saying?

Do they know how they are keeping us awake?

Of course they know.

They have experience of life.

We do too, but no so much.

Tara Bergin is from Dublin. Her first collection of poems, This is Yarrow, was published by Carcanet in 2013, and was awarded the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize, and the Irish Shine/Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish author. She currently lives in the North of England.