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Jamie O'Halloran: a poem



Listening to Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suite

No. 1 in G Major: First Wave Spring


I. Prelude


First the turning, a funnel of bowing

blowing through a greening field

the horizon stretching octaves


the fingering a slap to the fretless neck

quickening, quickening return

to the entrance with more, more



II. Allemande


Strong pose, the dancer salutes

first position and the arms claim


the full floor the complete stage turn

and post, the arms a basket gathering


witnesses to the lifting held by the bass,

the wood of the body, the woods of unknowing


the woods, the wood the bole of the tree

this searching and the player's breath



III. Courante


Fingers trot like ponies

the race the digging the gallop

determined, this way, this way


O, certainty of wind, the vane

steadies, no trembles

nodding pony



IV. Sarabande


The river empties its mouth into the lake

of my dreams where the swimmer


climbs against the Corrib's body,

just skin for a suit in this cold,


one final loop around the curragh anchored

close to the pier, her cap, white as the waves'



V. Menuets I & II


Old form the greeting

gone for now

just the wave and lovely afternoon,

fine evening isn't it


how to learn the names

of neighbours, and theirs

shifting our walk

in this tight radius



VI. Gigue


Now you're talking tapping

the heel and palm

the nodding of everything


shortest notes frill above

legato taking it higher

in and out and stop



Jamie O’Halloran is an American-Irish poet whose Corona Connemara & Half a Crown was awarded second place in the 2021 Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition. Her poems appear most recently in Southword, Skylight 47 and The Honest Ulsterman. She lives above a river in Connemara with her husband, one cat and two donkeys.

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