Spring 2007 • Vol. XXIX No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2007 |

Letters to the Dead

I In the Old Kingdom scholars found potterywritten round and around with signs and marks. II Written in silt ware. On the rims of bowls.Laid at the entrance of tombs.Red with the iron of one world.Set at the threshold of another.They called them letters to the dead. III They did not mourn or grieve these signs or marks.They were intimate, imploring, local, desperate. IV Here at the threshold of an Irish springyou can no longer see,hawthorn bushes with their small ivory flowerswill soon come alive in every wind. Soon,every hillside will be a distant bride. V If I could write it differently,the secret history of a place,as if it were a story of hidden water, known onlythrough the strange acoustic of a stream underfootin shallow grassit would be this—this story. VI I wanted to bring you the gifts of the island,the hawthorn in the last week of April,the sight of the Liffey above Leixlip.The willows there could be girls,their hair still wet after a swim

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Eavan Boland has published ten volumes of poetry, the most recent being New Collected Poems (2008), Domestic Violence (2007), and An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems 1967-87 (1996) with W.W. Norton. She has received the Lannan Award for Poetry and an American Ireland Fund Literary Award.

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I In the Old Kingdom scholars found potterywritten round and around with signs and marks. II Written in silt ware. On the rims of bowls.Laid at the entrance of tombs.Red […]

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I In the Old Kingdom scholars found potterywritten round and around with signs and marks. II Written in silt ware. On the rims of bowls.Laid at the entrance of tombs.Red […]

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