Conor Kelly

James Clarence Mangan Wooing On St. Lucia

Conor Kelly

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                                                                            "Well when I write
                         this poem, each phrase go be soaked in salt..."
                                    Derek Walcott


You're my dark woman now.
           Don't sigh, don't sob, don't weep.
Each tear that falls after each row,
           Like the air that sweeps
Inland when the salt winds come,
           Has the asperity
Of lime juice in a glass of rum.
           My dark Rosalie.
           My own Rosalie.
Your bitter words have left me numb.
My bitter words have left you dumb.
           My young Rosalie.


I'm like the fisherman
           Who takes a black pirogue
Beyond Castries, as far as he can,
            And, in his native brogue,
In the patois of his love,
           Chants to the salt rich sea
That Creole name he's dreaming of.
           My dark Rosalie.
           My black Rosalie.
I chant your name, I chant my love,
I chant the name I'm dreaming of.
           My own Rosalie.


Forgive me if I seem
          To cast words like a net
Thrown on the moon's reflected beam
          To catch what I regret.
They are what my ardour paints.
          Forgive me. Let me be
Far from the tide of your constraints.
          My dark Rosalie.
          My own Rosalie.
I sense your sad, your salt complaints
Here, on this island of the saints,
          My sad Rosalie.


The poinsettia bleeds
         By the roadside. At night
A strong depression soon concedes
          A minimal respite.
In the unpainted pine shack
         We share beside the sea,
Fronting the bay at Cul-de-Sac,
         My dark Rosalie,
         My own Rosalie,
We lie together, back to back,
Exhausted by each fresh attack,
         My dark Rosalie.


Now, as you sleep, I hear,
         Beyond the window sill,
The late night transport changing gear
         As it climbs the steep hill
Past a roadside restaurant
         Where, on its MTV,
Bob Marley and the Wailers chant
         My dark Rosalie...
         My dark Rosalie...
Their reggae rhythm's like a taunt
Sent to provoke, disturb and haunt
         My young Rosalie.


Here will I make my home
         Where liquid sunshine falls
On goats and hogs and cocks that roam
          At ease through market stalls
While the small hibiscus tree
          Flowers in piquancy
By the circumambient sea.
          My dark Rosalie,
          My fond Rosalie,
In Gros Islet, in Labourie,
In Vieux Fort and in Vigie, be
          My own Rosalie.


Conor Kelly


Conor Kelly is an Irish writer living in rural France. He has had poems printed in The Southern Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times, The Sunday Tribune, Boyne Berries, Snakeskin, Krino, Envoi, Revival and AndOtherPoems. He runs the twitter account @poemtoday which prints short poems, classic and contemporary, on a daily basis.