Eleanor Hooker

Eleanor Hooker is an Irish poet and writer. Her poetry collection, The Shadow Owner’s Companion (Dedalus Press) was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine Award for Best First Irish Collection 2012. Her second collection, A Tug of Blue (Dedalus Press) will be published October 2016. Her poetry has been published in literary journals internationally, including: Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, PN Review, Agenda, The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times and POEM: International English Language Quarterly, and featured on RTÉ, Irish National radio, and on Prosody, Jan Beatty’s Pittsburgh radio programme. Under Culture Ireland’s International Programme, Eleanor was one of two Irish poets who delivered a series of poetry readings and interviews in the USA, in April 2016. Eleanor was awarded 1st Prize in the 2016 Bare Fiction Flash Fiction Prize (UK). Her short fiction has been published in Banshee and The Woven Tale Press. She holds an MPhil in Creative Writing (Distinction) from Trinity College Dublin, a MA (Hons) in Cultural History from the University of Northumbria, and a BA (Hons 1st) from the Open University.  Eleanor is Programme Curator for the Dromineer Literary Festival, a helm on the Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat. She began her career as a nurse and midwife. eleanorhooker.com

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Walls

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offence.

– Robert Frost

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i

We are not founding lacking

by the storm. Through the night

we hear its gale-force wail, a wall

of ire-stained sea building starboard side.

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Jason shifts the searchlight,

finds himself staring into the mouth

of the storm. He bellows back, helm

ninety degrees, hard to port.

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We ride the lip at the leading edge,

and neither fall behind

nor plunge ahead of the jaw.

And when at last the sea closes its mouth,

we tumble over the wall into calm.

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ii

Considering such things, my Dad once asked,

Nell, can God build a wall he cannot climb?

Yes, I said, he can.

Then he cannot climb the wall.

Yes, I said, he can.

Then he cannot build a wall he cannot climb.

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iii

We sit at the party facing a human wall

of silence, built from a hundred and fifty cold

shoulders, pointed with stony glances.

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What is this? I ask.

It’s a wall we cannot climb, you say, it’s the storm

that finds us lacking.

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Why does it hurt? I ask.

They’re showing you what’s it like

to be dead, you say.

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Why are they doing this? I ask

We tell them no and no again, you say.

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Who are these people? I ask.

These are Friends, you say.

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