Moyra Donaldson

The Sixtieth Year of Horror Stories & A Real Cowboy Girl

Moyra Donaldson

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The Sixtieth Year of Horror Stories

When I was young I loved to scare myself

with stories read beneath the blankets

late at night by the light of a torch,

curse of the monkey’s paw,

the haunted doll’s house,

weight of a cat on the end of the bed

when you know there’s no cat there.


Now all the what ifs follow me about,

sit on my chest, restrict my breath;

the late night phone call; blue lights;

the knock at the door; the cocked gun

of my children’s lives pressed to my temple

day in day out; the diagnosis; the unlatched

gate - horses escaping into the night;

the hooked beak of grief: now it’s real.


A Real Cowboy Girl

     I want to be a real cowboy girl

     And wear all the buckles and straps

     And know how it feels to wear spurs on my heels

     And strut around in my chaps

Girls of the Golden West 1935


I slide my suede gloved hand

beneath the rope, curl my fingers

against the hide; muscle

beneath me shifts,

my bones all aching

with the years of damage done.

The crush swings open,

the next fall begins.


I’m going to pack it in –

drive down to Mexico,

the little skewbald mare

in the trailer behind me.

A paddock for her,

a veranda for me,

Fernando’s salty margaritas,

tumbleweeds and sunsets.


Moyra Donaldson


Moyra Donaldson is an award winning poet from Co Down. She has published six collections of poetry including Selected Poems (2012), and The Goose Tree (2014) from Liberties Press, Dublin.  Also widely published in magazines and journals in both Europe and the USA, her latest project was a collaboration with photographic artist Victoria J Dean resulting in an exhibition and the publication  Abridged 0 -36 Dis-Ease