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Eavan Boland quotes (showing 1-9 of 9)

“As soon as I take down her book and open it...My skies rise higher and hang younger stars.”
Eavan Boland
“The Pomegranate

The only legend I have ever loved is
the story of a daughter lost in hell.
And found and rescued there.
Love and blackmail are the gist of it.
Ceres and Persephone the names.
And the best thing about the legend is
I can enter it anywhere. And have.
As a child in exile in
a city of fogs and strange consonants,
I read it first and at first I was
an exiled child in the crackling dusk of
the underworld, the stars blighted. Later
I walked out in a summer twilight
searching for my daughter at bed-time.
When she came running I was ready
to make any bargain to keep her.
I carried her back past whitebeams
and wasps and honey-scented buddleias.
But I was Ceres then and I knew
winter was in store for every leaf
on every tree on that road.
Was inescapable for each one we passed.
And for me.
It is winter
and the stars are hidden.
I climb the stairs and stand where I can see
my child asleep beside her teen magazines,
her can of Coke, her plate of uncut fruit.
The pomegranate! How did I forget it?
She could have come home and been safe
and ended the story and all
our heart-broken searching but she reached
out a hand and plucked a pomegranate.
She put out her hand and pulled down
the French sound for apple and
the noise of stone and the proof
that even in the place of death,
at the heart of legend, in the midst
of rocks full of unshed tears
ready to be diamonds by the time
the story was told, a child can be
hungry. I could warn her. There is still a chance.
The rain is cold. The road is flint-coloured.
The suburb has cars and cable television.
The veiled stars are above ground.
It is another world. But what else
can a mother give her daughter but such
beautiful rifts in time?
If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift.
The legend will be hers as well as mine.
She will enter it. As I have.
She will wake up. She will hold
the papery flushed skin in her hand.
And to her lips. I will say nothing.”
Eavan Boland
“Love will heal
What language fails to know”
Eavan Boland
“. . . We love fog because
it shifts old anomalies into the elements
surrounding them. It gives relief from a way of seeing”
Eavan Boland, Domestic Violence: Poems
“Poetry begins where language starts: in the shadows and accidents of one person’s life.”
Eavan Boland, A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet
“Child of our time, our times have robbed your cradle. Sleep in a world your final sleep has woken.”
Eavan Boland
“Lines written for a thirtieth wedding anniversary


Somewhere up in the eaves it began:
high in the roof – in a sort of vault
between the slates and the gutter – a small leak.
Through it, rain which came from the east,
in from the lights and foghorns of the coast –
water with a ghost of ocean salt in it –
spilled down on the path below.
Over and over and over
years stone began to alter,
its grain searched out, worn in:
granite rounding down, giving way
taking into its own inertia that
information water brought, of ships,
wings, fog and phosphor in the harbour.
It happened under our lives: the rain,
the stone. We hardly noticed. Now
this is the day to think of it, to wonder:
all those years, all those years together –
the stars in a frozen arc overhead,
the quick noise of a thaw in the air,
the blue stare of the hills – through it all
this constancy: what wears, what endures.
-”
Eavan Boland
“I began to watch places with an interest so exact it might have been memory. There was that street corner, with the small newsagent which sold copies of the Irish Independent and honeycomb toffee in summer. I could imagine myself there, a child of nine, buying peppermints and walking back down by the canal, the lock brown and splintered as ever, and boys diving from it.
It became a powerful impulse, a slow intense reconstruction of a childhood which had never happened. A fragrance or a trick of light was enough. Or a house I entered which I wanted not just to appreciate but to remember, and then I would begin.”
Eavan Boland, Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time
“This is what language is:
a habitual grief. A turn of speech
for the everyday and ordinary abrasion
of losses such as this:
which hurts
just enough to be a scar
And heals just enough to be a nation.”
Eavan Boland, The Lost Land: Poems


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