BOOKS / Contemporary Poets: 12 Maura Dooley

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The Independent Culture
Maura Dooley's poetry subtly reflects the tensions and contradictions implicit in being an Irish writer living in England. Politics, though rarely the overt subject of her work, suffuses her poems, in which detailed domesticity, lyricism and a sophisticated intelligence combine to beguiling and arresting, but always unpretentious, effect. Her first full-length collection of poems, Explaining Magnetism, was published by Bloodaxe last year.


It's only a week but already you are slipping

down the cold black chute of history. Postcards.

Phonecalls. It's like never having seen the Wall,

except in pieces on the dusty shelves of friends.

Once I queued for hours to see the moon in a box

inside a museum, so wild it should have been kept

in a zoo at least but there it was, unremarkable,

a pile of dirt some god had shaken down.

I wait for your letters now: a fleet of strange cargo

with news of changing borders, a heart's small

journeys. They're like the relicts of a saint.

Opening the dry white papers is kissing a bone.