Máighréad Medbh

Twelve Beds for the Dreamer

ISBN: 9781851320189

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In my dream I’m dragged struggling to the people.
I’m thrown among them,
accounting for myself as the gallows is hammered.
I wake to silence, endemic hypocrisy,
and a huge wheel I’d like some room upon.

− ‘Bound’ (Sagittarius)

The ‘twelve beds’ in the title of this collection refer to the twelve astrological signs. The dreamer is the poet, who began by noting the stages of the moon’s monthly cycle and checking whether her dreams might bear any relation to them. Would she dream of conflict when the moon was in Aries, or of love when it was in Libra? She didn’t reach a scientific conclusion, but she did write the dreams as poems and found that they could be allocated thematic places within the astrological divisions. She added other poems of the night and half-light to achieve a narrative of the inner life with the zodiac as a structure, astrology having proved a very interesting map-maker in her experience.

The journey in the sequence is from Cancer (home, children, tradition) to Gemini (communication, information, restlessness), a road which has also been walked by the poet’s generation. The last poems in the sequence are steeped in the clamorous demands of the Celtic Tiger mentality. Máighréad Medbh has been described as a ‘vital slam poet’ and ‘a unique presence in the Irish poetry scene’, whose ‘handling of metre is competent and assured’. These poems imbue the oneiric experience with melody and inquiry, and veer close to the honesty of the subconscious itself.