My Daughter in Winter Costume

girl in parka painting by Lizzie

painting by Elizabeth Desiree Torbet


Here is a wonderful villanelle from the Irish poet Mary O’Donoghue:


after John Storrs’ sculpture (1922)


She is sealed like a bomb in her anorak.

Her face is flushed fruit under the hood.

She’s already moving away. I want to call her back.


At nine in the morning the sky is blue-black.

I think of hard falls, split lips, her blood.

But she’s sealed like a bomb in her anorak,


and shouting to friends on the tarmac,

a yardful of children, a tide,a flood

already moving away. I want to call her back,


I’m faint, suddenly starved with the lack

of her,and determined that she should

know, all sealed like a bomb in her anorak.


Grip the wheel. Radio on.The yakety-yak

of today’s talking heads on How to Be Good.

The morning is moving away. I want to call her back.


This is what it’s like to be left slack,

the cord frayed like I knew it would.

She is sealed like a bomb in her anorak,

already moved away, and I can’t call her back.




© 2011, Mary O’Donoghue From: Shine On: Irish Writers for Shine Publisher: Dedalus Press, Dublin, 2011, 978-1-906614-47-8





<a href=””>Costume</a&gt;

Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

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