Poem of the Week | Two Poems By Siobhan MacMahon

Mapping a New Reality

By Siobhan MacMahon


When all the old paths

have been concreted over,

the way forgotten,


when words shape-shift

beneath your feet,

spelling another reality,


when you don’t know

what to pray for anymore,

let alone to whom – then


you must abandon


the broken compasses,

burn the man-made maps

and head for home –


follow the knowing

in your bones, the aching

of your heart,


the song-line of your body.



Holy Dreaming

By Siobhan MacMahaon


There is a new story, you know,

only we haven’t found all the words

yet; she is still telling it through our dreams.

Perhaps we will find a language without any words,

for they talk to me, you know, the trees,

whispering their mossy secrets

buried deep in the soft brown earth,

telling me old tales, glistening webs

spun on bare branches, shivering

in the gloom of the twilight air.


And when I sit upon the quiet shore

and stroke the sun warmed rocks,

sometimes they whisper songs to me,

hidden mysteries of the dark blue sea.


I watch the world unfold

I hear the lonely crying

of the lost souls

come keening down the winds

and I listen to the stories told

by the gurgling of the brazen stream

flowing wildly down the hill

in a rhapsody of ecstasy.


Dirt beneath my fingernails

I dig in the hard earth

of this ancient land,

through bog and bone I dig

scrabbling to remember.

For we have forgotten

the place where prayer

opens softly in the darkness

of our bodies, humming with sweetness,

the place where every cell and fibre of our beings

is ringing out an Angelus

an Alleluia chorus, an Ave Maria.


So let us remember

the deep well of our belonging

the holy mystery of our lives

and let us dream a new world into being.


Let us dream a new world into being.


(Extract from Holy Dreaming, performed at the Left Bank Arts Centre, Leeds 2017)

For more original poetry check out  HeadStuff Poetry.

Cover photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash