Coillte, DS Maolalai

Charles Hood, Downloaded Forest




seeing a deer on a hill down in waterford
and standing, our breath lodged
like carrots in the earth of our throats.
a path which lead forward
to trees and behind to horizon –
a for-profit forest and those wild,
unused spaces of moon-
surface grey and cut wood.
a disease of machinery, infecting
the pine and beyond that the dirt
of the hillside. and the mind
of us hikers who walk it. and the eyes
of a deer with the shine
of a bird in a cage. something
wild moving, surrounded
by silence and wire; the pressure
of tracks in the shed
layer of needles to ground.

DS Maolalai


Review by Massimo Fantuzzi

There’s coillte (one of the Irish words for forestry) and there is Coillte (the Company currently managing 50% of the Irish woodland); smack in the middle, breath lodged like carrots, is us.

An encounter with a deer prompts us to confront a few things: a path, a for-profit forest, a disease, a bird in a cage, silence and wire; in this specific order. I don’t think I need to connect these dots for you.

Still, I want to read a message of hope at the end of the poem and beyond, as our friend tells us of something wild moving – a lone worm, left with the responsibility of manuring that moon-surface grey that will be the land of tomorrow, or a lone woodlouse, moving under that layer of needles (pine? syringes?) in which long ago our dreams had once found shade: there will be forests.

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