Matthew Rice

Myrtis & The Disappeared

Matthew Rice

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He was a spirit

looking out in terror

from a corpse, but

Thucydides himself survived;

and his account of the Plague of Athens,

his sardonic humour evident,

imparting that old Athenians remembered

a rhyme that predicted with the Dorian War

would come a 'great death'.

Death meaning 'dearth', according to some sources -

dearth where a spirit once huddled

in the vacated skull

of an eleven year old girl whose bones

were discovered in the mass grave

in Kerameikos.

They have reconstructed her face,

resurrected her in the name of science;

they have given her hair for the style of the time

and named her for the common Greek.

The Disappeared

Even Hades, who enriches himself

With our sighs and our tears,

Who wept privately

When the soul of Achilles

Eased Odysseus' mourning,

Has lost interest in time

And no longer resides with the dead,

Spread like unnamed constellations,

As far below the ground

As the earth from the heavens.

Matthew Rice

Matthew Rice was born in Belfast in 1980.  He now lives and works in Carrickfergus, County Antrim.  He is currently studying for his BA Honours in English Language and Literature. Rice has published poems in magazines and journals on both sides of the Atlantic, including The Asheville Poetry Review and The Echo Room.  He was one of six new poets showcased in a special reading to mark Poetry Day Ireland 2016, organised by Poetry NI and Poetry Ireland.  His work was chosen for the 2016 Community Arts Partnership anthology, Connections, funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.  He was long-listed for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing 2016. 

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