Gaynor Kane

Gaynor Kane lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She came to writing late in life, after finishing her Open University BA(Hons) degree with a creative writing module in 2015. Mainly a writer of poetry, she has had work published in journals and anthologies in the UK, Ireland and America. In 2018, Hedgehog Poetry Press launched their Stickleback series with her micro-collection ‘Circling the Sun’, which is about some of the early women pilots. Gaynor has just released her chapbook ‘Memory Forest’, also from Hedgehog Press. That is a thematically tight collection about burial rituals and last wishes. She is currently putting the finishing touches to her debut full collection, after receiving an Arts Council NI grant in 2019, which allowed her writing time and mentoring and editing services.

Gaynor is a member of Holywood Writers’ Group, The Irish Writers Centre and Women Aloud NI. She also volunteers for EastSide Arts during their summer festival and the CS Lewis festival in November. Gaynor is a keen amateur photographer and has had some of her photography published in journals and anthologies, also.

Biologist

For Tara

At two, you fell in love.
By three, before you could string
complete sentences together,
several species circled you tongue;
knowing their ferocity, geography, anatomy
(1st & 2nd dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fin).
 
Great Whites, most dangerous
but it was man’s fault, you said,
for dressing up as seals.
Followed by Tiger, Mako, Thresher,
Hammerhead. Learnt your colours:
blue, blacktip, whitetip, gray, lemon.
 
Liked the ugly ones best:
Goblin, Wobbegongs.
Cried, when you found out
Honeycomb and Angels
were endangered, decided
to be a Marine Biologist.
 
At eight, you explored
The Blue Planet. Posed under
a magnificent megalodon jaw
twice your height, its teeth
larger than your fierce hands.
Watched divers with envy.
 
At nine, you travelled West.
Rummaged rock pools
and scoured Salthill strand.
Returned to the lab triumphant
with a Sea Hare
 
and Mermaid’s purse in a little beaker.
Asked the aquarium
to safeguard the sea hare,
put the mermaid in maternity,
said goodbye to happy-faced rays.
 
Now, at sixteen, your shelves still-life
lined with, ammonites, shells, stones
and sharks’ teeth in glass bell-jars;
your aspirations metamorphosing
to post-mortem Pathology,
and conversing with the dead instead.

Penny’s morning music

Penny lies javelin straight
her attic floor a riot of colours
a punch of patterns, a space
as cluttered as her head.
 
Her eyes flick open, sun streams through
skylight frost feathers, embellishing
plain walls with paisley print,
light rebounds off the trophy shelf.
 
Growling and wheezing ascends
between floorboard cracks.
Outside, lead blackbird conducts a chorus
of crows. Distant beats drift on the breeze:
cart on cobbles, clip-clop hooves.
 
Penny pole-vaults out of bed, inhales
the scent of dew, bacon and eggs from
Ma Kelly’s Café, hops and barley dregs
from the Social, where other musicians have arrived.
 
Engine rumble bass, a workers’ liturgy,
driver whistles, passenger hums.
Wind instrument empties.
Tambourine tinkle of brown bottles,
the finale’s cannon clash of kegs.
 
Her personal 1812 overture,
she sways in time, smiles.

Paper Boats

For MD
 
They were fragile, translucent, folded 
edges crisp and straight. His hulls
held her poems; words of love, loss,
and grief, their weight made immense
by the tremble of his hand.
 
Crouched at the water’s edge, sand
shifting beneath his feet, he fed
them to the sea, placed on the apex
of waves, to float out fast.
 
He looked across the grey expanse
to where she lay sleeping deep,
dreaming of patterned pages
embossed with serpents’ tongues.
 
Off they tugged on mourning moon-tide;
he wished them safe passage but did not see
his red ink bleeding
and rice paper dissolving
before they reached the skyline.

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