Olive Broderick

Hot Water, Night Divers & Austerity Times

Olive Broderick

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Hot Water

The most extravagant thing is the long nightly bath

- close to submerged in the opaque water –

Rose Absolute-infused steam rising,

I am happiest here

with only the contained moonlight of a candle-in-a-glass

to invoke the constant blessings of lighthouses.

At St John’s Point, coastal people have come out

to protest against the retracting of the Light there –

and in the same breath, somebody asks about the merrow.

One man swears that once he saw one –

neck and breast out of the water, lighting up silver

as the slow beam crossed her path.

He infers a tail beneath the ragged sea-fog of late winter.

He is certain what she had come for.

And so it is with mythical creatures –

who are often said to foretell such certainty.

And so it is with mortal creatures who flee in terror,

backs to the ocean; running for the high, dry ground.

First Published in Abridged 0 - 14: Floodland, 2016

Night Divers

The divers go under.

Overlapping lily-pads of light

mark the place of their descent.

I stand on deck watching out for them.

The moon, my beacon, but

no anchor, gives enough light

to make a silhouette of jagged edges –

the ocean and the coast.

The boat, at anchor, is nudged,

insistently, by the undertow.

It has the rhythm of a death-rattle.

My only counsel is to keep breathing.

Suddenly, they come to the surface

and like silent, ocean glow-worms

they move across towards the boat.

The night divers return laughing.

Austerity Times

When the captain calls

brace, brace

you can't remember

what you should do

You are now alone

in the air

and the whole world

seems to be falling

You are surprised at the speed

of your thinking

none of which amounts to much

when you have no control

instead you look

to your neighbours

one-by-one you all assume

the brace position

Head to knees – your own arms embracing

a quiet kind of descent

silent calls for help and then the heart reminds you

what you truly care for

and through a dent in your damaged craft

flies the winged companion

of this mad uncertainty






First Published in FourXFour, Issue 7 Winter 2014

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.

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