Like a Jesus on some blue moon-drenched planet
or Vincent in a starry night
he is wandering the craggy lands under Wolf Hill
alone in a world full of knives
slashing cartilage and a number tattoo
sound waves turned stone
grinding two pink desert roses blossoming on skull.
In a shelter for his kind he will cower under hands
anointing wounds with ointment
bringing healing to petals of ragged flesh
discussed from country’s end to end
in papers screeching brutal, scumbag, inhuman
falling silent as a dancer
on high wastes of northern snow
now the first herd of horses raise strained heads
to taste dark ruby skies
in a country where great stallions fight
and crescent bears bleed bile
touching down on that utterly measureless ground.
Clare McCotter’s haiku, tanka and haibun have been published in many parts of the world. She won the IHS Dóchas Ireland Haiku Award 2010 and 2011. In 2013 she won The British Tanka Award. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on Belfast born Beatrice Grimshaw’s travel writing and fiction. Her poetry has appeared in Abridged, Boyne Berries, Crannóg, Cyphers, Decanto (forthcoming), Iota (forthcoming), Irish Feminist Review, Poetry24, Revival, Reflexion, The Cannon’s Mouth, The Moth Magazine, The SHOp and The StingingFly. Black Horse Running, her first collection of haiku, tanka and haibun, was published in 2012. Home is Kilrea, County Derry.