Mary Turley-McGrath

Forget the Lake

ISBN: 9781851320936

Water is everywhere in these poems: lake water, river water, the sea in all its moods and guises. Perhaps this is what gives the book its fluidity and lightness, the grace that frames the collection’s humane empathies. Mary Turley-McGrath’s well cast epiphanies are as likely to come from her meditations on art as from her keen observations of the natural world, or from the scrutiny of family attachments and lineage, the deep heart’s core

– Paula Meehan

Mary Turley-McGrath’s work ranges wide through time and place, nature and art. She is equally at home in Pablo Picasso’s Spain and Patrick Kavanagh’s Ireland. Whether she is in Marbella or on Baggot Street she seeks ‘care of heart’, ‘beauty of mind’, ‘strength of hand’. She loves both the seasonality of the countryside and the exoticism of distance, but the romance has a foundation in realism: whether her imagination takes her as far as Rangoon, she is not blind to the fact that old Burma is new Myanmar, a contested place where priests are beaten in the street. But everywhere she goes she wants to find a quality of physical and mental light that has about it ‘a keener dazzle’

– Brian Lynch


The lake became an estuary overnight;
besieged by hammering rain,
flattened, subdued to shallows
of dark foil-strips between trees.
The drooping hazels and alders offered
no consolation; the sky was falling,
impaling itself on tips of forest pines;
it descended to enwrap the lake.

The heron had left for the lawn,
neck pushed forward in disdain;
the deluge had soaked him
to an alabaster shape. Then, near
the copper beech, he took flight
across the grass and was gone.