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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: Caitriona O’Reilly’s “Sleep and Spiders”

We are looking forward to kicking off next year’s publishing calendar with Caitríona O’Reilly’s newest volume. But since it’ll be many months until we can share those poems with you, we chose one of her poems from The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry, Volume I. As the editor of that volume writes, O’Reilly’s voice is “consistently striking and original,” a statement that continues to hold true.

Sleep and Spiders

It is too strange to kill.
The symmetry of its eyes,

its eight paired legs askew
on the lintel, exoskeletal

and tiger-striped, all digestion.
It looks sudden but is still

for hours, eyes on stalks,
awaiting news from hair-triggers

that might be legs or fingers
(the whole thing a claw)

come to touch me in sleep—
hammock from which

black shadows seep.
Stars go milky, then go out.

I wake at five to what five is—
a cold blue glow and a self

trussed, barely breathing,
paralytic with dreams.

Caitríona O’Reilly, from The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry, Volume I (2005)


Categories: Caitriona O'Reilly, Irish Poetry, Irish Women's Poetry, Poem of the Week

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