Margaret McCarthy

Margaret McCarthy

Margaret McCarthy’s poetry collection NOTEBOOKS FROM MYSTERY SCHOOL (Finishing Line Press, 2015) was a New Women’s Voices Award finalist. Mythology, and the gods and goddesses of myth, are a continual source of inspiration for her work. Her poems have appeared in: The Pagan Muse: Poems of Ritual and Inspiration, Working Papers in Irish Studies, Cyphers Magazine (Ireland), The Albero Project (Italy) Poetry New Zealand, Gargoyle Magazine, HIV HERE AND NOW ON-LINE POETRY PROJECT, Braided Way Magazine, Home Planet News, Shaking Like A Mountain: On line Literature about Contemporary Music, California State Poetry Society Quarterly and Poets and Peace International. Her work has been performed in programs at La Mama Theatre, Poetic Theatre Productions, NYC, The English Speaking Union of New York, The Hudson Valley Writers Association, and Irish American Writers and Artists (IAW&A) monthly salons at The Cell Theatre, NYC.

McCarthy works as a professional photographer in New York City; her photographs have been widely exhibited. She publishes a web broadside, A VISION AND A VERSE, combining her imagery and poetry.


It could have been his daughter
who melted, burnt and crashed,
but girls were not encouraged
to fly.
Or would she, being female,
have realized that the sun could come to her?
Or, as a girl, would she have learned and known
just how far to go?
Would she have needed or heeded
a father’s warnings about the light and heat?
At the destruction of a daughter
would her Daedalus have wept harder?
Boys don’t cry
Girls don’t fly
Oh, the old
reflected back at you, your mirrored self
in your precocious, precious child or hated enemy.
Oh, those old opponents –
female strength and male emotion
twisted in a heap on the landing strip
where each one of us will crash and burn,
on our way to drown in our own soul’s
desire’s water.
The parent’s heart will break
all over, the foolish child
will always win their wings.

from Notebooks from Mystery School, Finishing Line Press, 2015


It’s your twelfth house, the astrologers say —
occupied by Pluto, governor of decay
and birth, beginnings and endings,
the egg of the world; there
the chart shows my planets lined up, there
at the door of this final, distant domain, stacked up
like cards; some astral poker game dealt me
this loaded twelfth house.

This is the home of the pearl
buried by ocean, the house of violet, amethyst, grief,
of purple, fathoms deep, the royalty of sorrow
(those are the pearls that were his eyes) and the plush
robes of the dead rulers and kings I wore
in all those other lifetimes; karmic weight
worn like an ocean,
bone memories waiting to be salvaged, past lives dredged –

this is the house of the drowned sailor.
Here is the house of things asked for and never gained,
the house of things never spoken of or explained;
the house of shadows

of the sailor at rest
but still restless


in the dwelling of longing.
The disappointment, the sorrow
never touched

but carried always, like a pearl
in the pocket
on the journey
not done.

from Notebooks from Mystery School, Finishing Line Press, 2015

For a Greek Dancer, Poros

The scarf is in your fist,
you lead the line around, and
under you it twists.
Your body is a line
insinuating foreign things.
Your dance, a theorem,
geometry displayed against
night air,
something which stars, hovering,
must cluster over you to see,
studying perfect truth as you move.

Poetry in this post: © Margaret McCarthy
Published with the permission of Margaret McCarthy