Katie Donovan: a poem



In a Perfect World


I'd rather my old cherry

with her white earrings

let herself flourish,

instead of drying out

so her sap feeds daughters.

I'd rather hollies stopped

eating all the light

in patches of sullen green.

I'd rather the tulip

wasn't gnawed before

she had a chance

to reveal her red.

I'd rather the cleavers

didn't try to climb

over the daffodils.

I'd rather the cat didn't

snatch a bluetit

and eat it.

I'd rather the shed

wasn't a tangle of discards.

I'd rather the children played

in their expensive tree house.


Still – at this full moon,

full Spring, air tart

with promise –

I relish:


the pink flowering currant

and orange-blossomed berberis;

a bumblebee droning

in the scarlet-starred quince.

The forsythia blazes up,

and the bluebells have decided

to take over the universe.

Even the obstreperous wild garlic

offers me its flowers

to garnish my lunch.



Katie Donovan has published five collections of poetry with Bloodaxe Books. Her most recent, Off Duty (2016), was shortlisted for the Irish Times/Poetry Now Prize. In 2017 she was the recipient of the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry.