BREDA WALL RYAN / IN A HARE'S EYE
Breda Wall Ryan bears witness to her own vulnerable life, to the lives of others, and to the life of the world — and to all that she sees, even in the darkest places, she brings the light of her careful attention.
— Paula Meahan
Cover art: Sarah Majury
BREDA WALL RYAN grew up on a farm in County Waterford and now lives in County Wicklow. She has a B.A. in English and Spanish from UCC; a Post-graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Second or Other Language from Trinity College, London; and an M.Phil. in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. She was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series in 2014. In 2015 she won the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize; in 2014 she won 2nd place for the Patrick Kavanagh Award; and in 2013, she won the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition, Dromineer Poetry Competition, the iYeats Poetry Competition and the Poets Meet Painters Competition. In a Hare’s Eye is Breda’s first poetry collection.
Self Portrait in the Convex Bulge of a Hare’s Eye
My first word for Hare was cailleach,
witch or crone, slack-skinned
hag with blade-edged bones.
I met her again today
where seven hare-sisters grazed
a scrawny field at Renvyle,
face to face inhaled her lepus breath,
gazed through my shadow-face
cupped in her glass-dark eye.
‘Which is my animal shade?’ I asked
the coven of leathern-ears.
Each licked her cloven lip and chanted,
‘I’, ‘I’, and ‘I’. Hare with sea-salt tongue
rolled the dark bulge of her eye,
answered, ‘All of us, all of us here;
we show no map of your journey, we
are you when you get there.’
I grabbed at scut and slippery ear,
begged her to tell more
but rain rolled in from Boffin,
plump drops slicked her fur,
she twitched a salt-crusted whisker,
slipped into Otherwhere
like a white horse in ceo draíochta,
left me straddling a barbed wire fence
with two handfuls of loose belly-skin
and a jagged gash in my thigh.
They take your name
tag your wrist
They note your history
take your clothes
issue a paper gown
They send you to the showers
where blue vein
They write up your chart
They take your hair.