Anne Connolly is a widely published Irish poet whose work encompasses many themes. She has read and performed at numerous festivals and events throughout Ireland and Scotland. Anne was the Makar of Scotland’s Federation of Writers in 2014 and their chair from 2016 to 2018. She believes that poetry is a form of music which must be heard as well as seen. Song and poetry are inextricably linked in the Irish tradition, and her participation from an early age in Ireland’s music festivals has been seminal to this experience and belief. She was a finalist in the BBC slam at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has twice reached the Scottish slam finals. Anne's third collection Once upon a Quark will be published by Red Squirrel Press in February 2019.
Oh the lady in red
Her generous heart was poor
so she sat through many of her days,
played Patience restlessly,
taught us to think,
read to occupy a mind less bodied
than it might have been,
knitted, knitted, knitted as her daily work
when she could do no other.
I watched her peel potatoes
elbows leaning on the sink edge
to prop her up when deathly paleness
dredged her face, her life, her spirits.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph on a gasp
of breath till the pain passed
and she could peel again.
I was an old woman on those days
an ancient first-born, mourning
at the grave of my own childhood.
Too much living in the head
racing my bike to chase lamp-posts
reach them before the following bus
to prove that she would still be there
Her dancing days lay at the bottom of the drawer
with powder-puff and crystal-beaded bag.
But still she played a flighty hand of poker
on rare young summer nights, huffed
inordinately when our poor father
went too far into rudeness
or betting on remorseless races.
And sometimes with a true ear
and a husky voice she sang
Oh the lady in red…….
From A Ravel of Yarns (Red Squirrel Press, 2015)