Róisín Tierney was born in Dublin in 1963 and studied psychology and philosophy at University College Dublin. She moved to London in 1985 where she worked in many areas, from theatrical make-up artist to museum administrator.
Her poetry is published in three pamphlets; Ask For It By Name, UNFOLD and Gobby Deegan’s Riposte, and has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies including Poetry Ireland Review,The Sunday Tribune (New Irish Writers), Magma, Arabesque Review and The Wolf. She was one of the readers in the 2008 Poetry Ireland Introduction series and is also a reader on the second Oxfam Life Lines CD.
One of her poems was shortlisted for the 2006 Strokestown Poetry Prize and she also won joint 2nd prize in the 2007 Brendan Kennelly Poetry Competition. Other prizes include a Poetry Life and a runner-up Bridport Prize in 2002 and an OXFAM Literature Poetry Prize in 2004.
After several years teaching English in Spain (Valladolid and Granada) and in Ireland (Dublin) she has now re-settled in London. She teaches a poetry writing class at the London Irish Centre in Camden, and also hosts occasional poetry events there.
When you first mentioned the villa on the Spanish-Italian border
to which we might abscond, and there live out our lives
in a utopian idyll of sun and passata,
I instantly saw in the far, far distance,
among sheep festooned with golden bells,
a whitewashed house, a vine covered trellis,
a sun-dappled patio, a lemon tree grove.
Whispering natives, with a strange patois,
their kindly gifts of dried goat, wine,
and we conversing over their heads, (I in Spanish, you in Italian),
with many accompanying gesticulations.
And somebody knitting, perhaps, in a corner,
the bony needles clacking and clicking,
as you spit on the floor and I pound the table
and one of us smashes a glass to the wall.
Friend, we are both in the heat of our lives –
let us kiss, then turn ourselves back to back,
I’ll face the Atlantic, you the Adriatic
let us each stride out for our separate countries
yet know that our hearts are sunk in wool,
bound by a skein that will never unwind
to be always connected, through our mutual love
of a fairly exclusive, unheard-of language,
that we’ll always meet up, in far flung places,
as yet unmapped, as yet unfound.
Poetry in this post: © Róisín Tierney
Published with the permission of Róisín Tierney