Afric McGlinchey


That roar might be the ocean outside, but just as often
it seems to be occupying your head like echoes
of last night’s dream

And no matter how hard you rub, the windows won’t clear
and anyhow, there’s all that rain, and wind battering and yesterday
it was hailstones, piled up against the front door like leaves in autumn

We’re incubated, while walls shake and pipes rattle
– perhaps the house will grow a prow and stern,
set sail on these floods

Soaked socks, soaked boots, soggy laundry cloaking
every piece of furniture and steam rising,
fire spitting, kettle hissing fourteen times a day

We make the treacherous journey to the creamery
for wood and plasterboard to put up a wall,
create a new study for writing

and even the men out in their yellows and spades
digging ditches for the run off
are wellie-deep in it, floundering

and it roaring down the fields, breaking through walls
that have stood there for hundreds;
feels like a planet that’s changing its mind

and we take to bed early, sleep on late, our world shrinking
to six feet of safety, twined legs warm,
wrapping us up like a package

but my body is seizing, the wheels barely turning,
and yesterday you couldn’t reach
down to the ground

and our only comfort’s a bottle of wine and dinner
in front of the fire, the clothes, the sawdust,
long planks of wood piled on the carpet

The night talks in its sleep, the soggy house drowning,
the charm of crystal, the swallow,
wearing thin

The day sealed in its grey blur, flits to a darkness
– was that it? Again? What did we do?
Pressure building, like elephants pacing a room

And still it persists, between hailing and lashing, hands running on walls,
the scream that’s kept down, like a dog clamouring
just for a walk….a walk…a walk…..


Afric McGlinchey grew up in Ireland and Africa. She is a workshop facilitator, editor and reviewer and tutors poetry online at Her work has appeared in various journals, including The SHOp, Southword, Poetry Ireland Review, Tears in the Fence, Acumen, and Magma. Her debut collection, The lucky star of hidden things, was published in 2012 by Salmon Poetry. She won the Hennessy Award for Emerging Poetry in 2011 and the Northern Liberties Poetry Prize (USA) in 2012.  She lives in West Cork.