The Snow Woman
She was a blow-in then,
the snow a wordless paper sheet,
her footprints the first blunt penstrokes
with everything still to write:
spring planting, barley sheaves,
a bitter crop of stones and chaneys
at the turn of the year.
Windblown crows dropped in
through holes punched in the sky,
gossiped year after year.
She wrote children,
they built the scarecrow in the field.
Now she’s a native,
the graveyard peopled with some of her own:
a greyed husband planted these two years,
a girl half-grown,
the rest of her children flown
a thousand miles as the crow
flies from the snow-blind fields,
silent hills shoulder her close,
crows call her name from tall trees.
She has carried the scarecrow into the house.
(published in Mslexia, Issue 47, October 2010)
Breda Wall Ryan’s poetry is widely published in journals and anthologies. A featured poet in Authors and Artists Introductions, she has been twice shortlisted for Mslexia and Fish Poetry Prizes, among others, and won the inaugural UCD Anthology Prize, and the Poets Meet Painters Competition and iYeats Poetry Award 2013.