Home Poetry Poetry happening—Amanda Bell

Poetry happening—Amanda Bell

image by Donald Teskey @Donald_Teskey

Amanda Bell reads from her new collection Riptide (Doire Press).

Riptide visits the beauty and darkness of Edvard Munch, his work a touchstone for the poet who paints parallels with the pain and joy of being alive today.

Riptide|Amanda Bell|Doire Press|ISBN: 9781907682858|€12.00

Bedtime Story

Paddle-boarding cousins rescued after fifteen hours at sea during corona virus pandemic, August 2020

What I love about this story is its clarity – 
there’s nothing vague about the vastness 
of the sea, or its indifference.

Pulled way offshore, you lash your boards together 
like a life raft, till the dark turns thick 
and falls to meet the swell. 

I love that when the helicopters miss you, 
the Perseids flash like searchlights,
an echo of the ocean’s phosphorescence. 

I love that in the sea there’s just the present – 
no time to contemplate successive waves.
I love that when they pick you up, you’re safe.


Negative Space

The patterns we make in our sleep, 
viewed from above, would be symmetrical:  
parallel lines of equal length, separate
but – like railway tracks – heading 
in the same direction; or pillars, 
bearing weight. Perhaps curled in 
like brackets, keeping something safe 
inside; or bookends, holding volumes 
in between. Sometimes like matching cutlery, 
tucked in its snug canteen – your knees slotted 
into mine, or the way my cheek fits 
in the plane between your shoulder blades, 
like jigsaw pieces, softened through long use.
Or back to back, no contact but the cool
soles of our feet; the space between our bodies
curving open like a chalice, a receptacle for dreams.

Painting by Donald Teskey @Donald_Teskey, cover design by Triona Walsh

Hoppers and Daddies

The feel of a hopper in the dome of your palms – the gentle twitch of him, the dark quiet. It’s mayfly season, and you’re on the sandy bay, hunting. There’s a little wooden box for them. Rectangular. One corner is hinged, and lifts up on an elastic band so you can slip them in. There are gauze panels on the sides so you can count your catch. They jump against the solid lid. The muscularity of them, their hard carapace, legs like steel pins. Daddies are different, fey and weightless, limbs fine as hair. The squish of their bodies as they’re threaded onto fish-hooks.

side on to the swell
the sky looks closer
then further off

You watch the offering as it floats on the wave, the gossamer cast bellies in the wind. It hops, lifelike, as the breeze gusts. Down below they watch it too, the wary fish. Sometimes they take it in their chilly mouths. Sometimes they swallow.

silver scales
drift from the landing net 
one by one by one

cover design Triona Walsh

Riptide|Amanda Bell|Doire Press|ISBN: 9781907682858|€12.00