Mary Hanlon lives in Claremorris, County Mayo. She is a participant in the Advanced Poetry Workshop facilitated at Galway Arts Centre by Kevin Higgins. Her poems have appeared in a variety of magazines, including West 47 online, The Cúirt Annual and Revival.
Thirst by Mary Hanlon
From an infancy cocooned by mud walls,
Marxism elevated Chavez to lead his people
for a decade that witnessed oil prices fall,
the land overgrazed, a shortage of food.
Red-shirted he stands now, sees the morning
sun glide over the Sky Islands,
sweep down to the broad eucalyptus tract
where Carib, Chibcha and Arawak tribes
once cultivated, and further west
skilfully stepped the Andes.
Violet crested hummingbirds flutter to the dawn.
Monkeys chatter from limb to limb.
The blue green leaves glisten.
Their oily scent carries on the breeze,
and roots with an insatiable thirst
bore deep into the earth, fast-growing
towards their cardboard destiny.
But the President has already decreed:
no infant’s body should shrink from hunger,
no man should have to beg on the pavement
tormented by disease-harbouring flies,
no capitalist should drain the llanos
with ‘water suckers’. The eucalyptus
he takes back will be used wisely,
replaced then by corn, cassava and yam.
Enough food for pabellon, cachapa, arepas.