Olive Broderick

Ghost Net, Neck & Weight~Dissolve.

Olive Broderick

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Ghost Net

The sea of legends is vivid turquoise.

The evening sun sets gold. Where it catches

the cast net, see how it shines.

Who will make me a skein of gold chain?

Pale Irish gold, closer to silver, that lights up

gently, like moonlight on water.

Moonlight as it falls on water, and on the cast net

– that gathers and catches but, lost at sea,

will never again return to the quayside.

At Steamboat Quay, bollards no longer

used to moor boats bide their time

on either side of the platform, like sentries.

Here at Steamboat Quay, there is a woman writing,

and on the wrong side of the guard rail

closest to the water, a dancer.

On 'safe' ground, a small boy, and two women

who mind him. The child moves

in straight lines from writer to dancer.

The dancer creates viewing frames

with her interlaced fingers, she surveys

this place in triangles.

A boy and the women who mind him.

Clouds and all that is reflected

on the widest part of Quoile channel.

What connects one thing to another?

A heron, full-wing-span crosses

over the river, it's flight silent.


My mother gave me a present

of a noose as a pendant.

I wear it as a reminder.

The dance of the body free of the head.

The lace, not the loop, is around my neck.

The delicate balance of the neck.

A little touch on its tender side

and ripples spread through all the cells.


- a gibbet left to swing against the skin.


              (after 'Tragic Magic' an exhibition by Ciaran Magill)

Heavy: the call of the ocean and constant

industrial traffic – lorries, van, tractors

moving, moving, holding low to the ground.

Heavy: the weight of this sky, like

the lid of the ocean and how you try

to hold it up. Your back bowed and aching

with the effort.

Sudden compassion -

bracken, brown, dried out, bleeds

its final colour in this river.

Sudden - a heatwave that comes

earlier than expected. Surprised trees

with bare-line branches

are like sketches amid this thick sky.

In one painting, a single figure walks

towards us through a pink and green landscape.

The curve of the road that leads back to the ocean

is behind -

this figure, not fully facing forward,

                         an extraordinary new day.

(poems are part of a sequence of dance-poems 'Knowing the Dance' created by poet Olive  Broderick, dancer Paula Guzzanti and musician Martin Devek.)

Olive Broderick

Olive Broderick's first publication 'Darkhaired' was a winner of the Templar Poetry pamphlet Award and was shortlisted for a Michael Marks Award. Her collection 'Night Divers' (Templar Poetry) was launched in June. Originally from Youghal in Co. Cork, came to Belfast to undertake the Queen's University Belfast, Creative Writing Programme, settling, afterwards, in Downpatrick, Co. Down. She has received a Hennessy X.O. Literary Award, Emerging Poetry Category. She acknowledges the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, including an Artists Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) 2016/17 award for the 'Knowing the Dance' project which explores the meeting place between poetry and dance/movement.