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THE STONE MESSENGER
Eileen Carney Hulme was born in Edinburgh and has lived and worked in many parts of the UK and in Europe as a library assistant and a tutor and practitioner of complementary therapies. She has spent the last ten years living in the North of Scotland enjoying the big skies and deserted beaches.
Her first collection of poems Stroking The Air was published by Bluechrome of Bristol in 2005 and her second collection The Space Between Rain was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2010.
Both collections were named in The Purple Patch Small Press Best Collections Awards in 2005 and 2010.
Her poems have appeared in poetry magazines, anthologies and internet poetry websites including Acumen, Envoi, Ink Sweat and Tears, Northwords Now, Reach Poetry, Sarasvati and The Dawntreader. She has won several prizes and been placed or highly commended in many competitions including; The Baker Prize, The Federation of Writers Scotland (winner 2015) The Scottish Association of Writers Poetry Competition, Write up North (winner 2014) The Annual Craigmillar Poetry Competition (winner 2013), The Sentinel Quarterly Poetry Competitions, The Sentinel Annual Poetry Competition, The City Of Derby Short Story and Poetry Competition, Coffee House Poetry Competition, Eye of Life Competition USA, Hastings International Poetry Competition, Partners Annual Poetry Competition, Indigo Dreams Press Poetry Awards, The Sheila Nugent Awards and The Dawntreader Awards.
She had a poem set to music and performed at The Cork International Choral Festival, was commissioned by Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin, to write a poem for their wedding brochure and has two poems transcribed on to wall space in The Nicholson Art Gallery in Forres, as a permanent feature, She was also their first Poet in Residence running various poetry events. Scottish textile artist, Margaret Meldrum of Findhorn, is currently creating a body of work inspired by Eileen’s poems for exhibitions in 2015. Poet Jon Plunkett has chosen some lines from Eileen’s poems to be carved into large stone and set along The Corbenic Poetry Path in Perthshire.
Eileen Carney Hulme
The Stone Messenger
Indigo Dreams Publishing
138 x 216mm
£7.99 + P&P UK
PUB: August 2015
The Stone Messenger
Summer, outside the Nature Sanctuary
its roof stilled by heather, grass and moss
Inside the moon on stone floor
maps each journey
A warm breeze tracks the foxgloves
pulse of bees, dance of butterflies
Memories are folded into this building
meditation and songs, secrets of lovers
I stay for a while, listen,
the words keep coming back.
Dandelion clocks message the air
and beyond the pink wall
voices are lifting away
Sun is high over the Igman Mountain
and it’s easy to forget
Until my eyes drift, blink
at bullet-peppered walls
clusters of gravestones –
the backdrop to every season.
Walking with Ghosts
They see me on my own
and think they will tag along
I am fine with it, really,
especially my parents.
Father no longer able
to hoist me onto his shoulder
content to stroll
and talk about the weather.
Mother looking like Lauren Bacall
tells me I can still be sexy at sixty.
Aunt Margaret bringing the family together
the crazy kitchen disasters,
I sympathise with each recipe gone wrong.
Friends come and go
as time allows, always busy
so much still to do,
offering opinions on everything
from the colour of my hair
to my love of chocolate cake.
These are the sounds
of my heart,
the keys that turn the locks
of passing years, the snatch
of voices on a path
in the quiet of my shadowland.
This is how it was
You told me your name
I told you mine
we touched hands
and everything else
is just rain
or the spaces between rain
how we measured
seasons by angles
how we talked
like pebbles in motion
how we smelled
of the sea and each other
and how in the night
that was quiet with blue
or the memory of blue
you promised me sky
nothing more, nothing less.
Thinking of my Mother as Lauren Bacall
Perhaps it was ‘The Look’
or how often you said
you loved Humphrey Bogart,
the pin-curled set, a hairstyle
that withstood winds on Dunoon Pier,
a daytrip with your friend Jenny,
fashioned in fur-trimmed camel coats
bringing Hollywood glamour
to an order of fish and chips.
Free to be post-war, out of uniform,
to be bold, lipsticked, to light
up a cigarette, laugh with young men
who thought they were Humphrey Bogart,
who dreamed of kissing you
in late night shop-front doorways,
sheltered from memories,
their bones grim, hollow
like mirroring ghosts
watching from windows,
while relentless stars
echo variations in time.
How a Stone Melts
Now when I dig in my pockets
there is only loose change
or worse a hole
where stars fall through
And if I think I can still
taste you, that last taste of summer
strung to my bones –
it hurriedly unfastens itself
My pain is ten years worn
ten years bled
I slip another stone into my heart –
stones were your talisman.
The way I learned to tell the time
After school, climbing on to your bed
holding the small mantelpiece clock
with its reassuring tick, cuddling up
to wasting muscles, thinning bones.
You pointed to twelve, three, six
and nine, I learned of halves and quarters
to and past. Everything measured, medication,
meals, a daughter’s repetition, and you –
horologist, amateur astronomer, tidal
locked, seeking the far side of the moon
Eileen Carney Hulme’s poems are intimate, precise and assured at locating the places where love, and other emotions, make themselves felt. There is sharpness, economy and exactness in the writing, a freshness and immediacy that draws you into her world.
“Scottish poets have written about how the best poems can sometimes be elegies and love poems at the same time, and I feel Eileen Carney Hulme has achieved this in her latest collection. Her work is marked by a deftness of touch and an eye for haunting, resonant images. These poems are often elemental and lashed with rain, buffeted by strong winds, but Carney Hulme's lyrical voice withstands such weather.”
“Having read Eileen’s earlier books, I looked forward eagerly to this new collection of poems. They begin rooted in family, and move sensitively outward. There’s a tenderness here, an assured humanity, an acceptance of loss, the knowledge of how to keep going, the strength of love, and how to play lightly with stones, bones, buttons and the colour blue.”
“Eileen Carney Hulme is a magician, producing the universal from the everyday with remarkable sleight-of-hand. Her images have the sharpness of a child's vision, overlaid by a lifetime's understanding. No-one who has known love, grief or innocence will fail to find themselves in her poems.”
READ 'ENVOI' REVIEW HERE