‘Relearning the properties of light’

That’s a line from the poem I recently came across and it’s stuck with me. I have been relearning many things. Travelling does that to you. I have been away for a short time but it feels like my compass of understanding has shifted a bit. I’d probably need to examine that idea properly before I commit to more here.

In the meantime, the young poet whose lines stayed with me is Aisling Fahey. Here are two extracts from her poems. I am trying to track her work down. So far she seems rather elusive. She is a spoken word artist, which means finding her work in writing will be difficult. I just love the way she plays with words.

Cab Rides At Dawn (an extract)

by Aisling Fahey

In the place where dawn breaks continuously,

I am relearning the properties of light.

I used to go hunting for stars on my aunt’s farm,

come back with them between my teeth

like the flesh of an exotic fruit.

We dont have these in the city, I’d say,

swallowing them until they settled in my belly,

before exploding, making me shine outward.

I confess more to strangers than to friends.

I am discussing Poetry and God in a cab
with a driver from Bulgaria.

If I recorded my conversations with cab drivers

I think I’d be closer to my dreams.

I always ask them where is home 

as they drive me to a place that is meant to be mine.

Foreign Bodies (an extract)

by Aisling Fahey

When a stranger pronounces my name right

I want to cut our ears off,

dig for other sounds we share.

There are names I cannot pronounce.
Each time, my tongue becomes a guilty weight,
I score a tally on my thigh
of all the countries I have not been to.

We love what is foreign
because it reminds us of ourselves.


My face is my parents’ homeland,

sometimes they look at it and cry

for all the things they’ve lost,

their lost things crawl under my skin,
look, there is the river we never did swim in,
I don’t know which one of them spots it,
the vein at my temple,
but by the time they turn around
the other one has long gone.

Entombed in my face is what they built together,
when they were in the business
of making love and lives
in foreign lands.

(The copyright for the poems/extracts rests with the poet.)


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